Miami Dolphins at New Orleans Saints Game Chat

Miami is at New Orleans to play the Saints in their first prime time game of the season. It's a battle of undefeated teams.

Click here to watch the game live. Don't download anything or click on any ads. Look for the small 'x' to close out any ads that might be in the way.

The Last Time the Miami Dolphins were 3-0...

There is much to celebrate through three weeks for Miami Dolphins fans. The team is 3-0 for the first time since 2002. Ryan Tannehill is playing like a seasoned pro and guys are showing up and making plays all throughout the roster. While there is a good feeling surrounding this team, 11 years is a long time, although to some it may not seem that long at all. Here's a look at what was going on in the world the last time the Dolphins were perfect through three games:

Ricky Williams was in his First Season with the Dolphins
The 1998 Heisman Trophy winner at Texas was in his first season with the Miami Dolphins and largely responsible for the 3-0 start. In his first three games with the team, Williams rushed for a combined 394 yards and three touchdowns while averaging 5.8 yards-per-carry.

Neither Dolphin Shout, MySpace, Facebook nor Twitter Existed
It was almost a year before MySpace, started by some guy named Tom, began the social media revolution. In 2002, none of the major social media sites were in existence and Dolphin Shout, at the time, was probably some sort of sonar reference.

LeBron James was a senior in High School
Now the best basketball player on the planet, a two-time gold medalist and two-time NBA champion with Miami's professional basketball team, the Heat, LeBron James was just a senior at St.Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. The Heat were coming off of a 36-46 season and led in scoring by Eddie Jones. Dolphins current quarterback Ryan Tannehill was just 14 years old at the time.

The Camera Phone was Brand New
2002 was also the first year that Nokia released the camera phone in the United States. The phone was brand new and at the cutting edge of technology. Interestingly enough at the time, most people used their cell phones for making phone calls. What a concept!

The Red Sox were Cursed and the Florida Marlins had Only One Championship
In 2002, the Boston Red Sox were still under the "Curse of the Bambino" and the then Florida Marlins had just one World Series title to their name. The Marlins won the World Series the following year over a New York Yankees team that beat the Red Sox in seven games in the American League Championship Series. In 2004, the Red Sox finally broke the curse by erasing a 3-0 series deficit to the Yankees to become the first team ever to win a series after trailing three games to none. Boston went on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series and won a second championship three years later. Unfortunately for the Chicago Cubs, their "Curse of the Billy Goat" remains alive and well.

Nelly and Spider-Man Topped the Charts
At the time of the Dolphins 3-0 start in 2002, the #1 single in America was "Dilemma" by Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland. Spider-Man starring Tobey Maguire was the top grossing movie at the box office. Hannah Montana at the time was a town of about 150 people...probably.

College Football was "All About the U"
The Miami Hurricanes topped both human polls in college football after a 4-0 start and were coming off of their fifth national championship and first in 10 years. The 2002 team was led by stars like Ken Dorsey, Willis McGahee, Andre Johnson, Kellen Winslow Jr., Antrel Rolle, Jonathan Vilma and Sean Taylor. Miami went on to lose to Ohio State in double-overtime in the Fiesta Bowl for the national championship. The Hurricanes won the Big East the following season finishing 11-2 and beating Florida State in the Orange Bowl. Since then, Miami has not won as much as a conference championship as a member of the ACC and has failed to lose fewer than three games in any season.

Pluto was a Planet
That's right. The relatively small ball of gas known as Pluto was regarded as the ninth planet in our solar system and the furthest from the sun. Schoolchildren memorized the order of the planets by reciting My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas instead of My Very Educated Mother Just Sold Urine to Nancy, or whatever mnemonic they're using today. It was 2006 when Pluto stopped being considered a planet.

Hopefully this trip back in time was entertaining, but it's interesting to think about how long ago 2002 really was. As the Miami Dolphins visit the New Orleans Saints on Monday night, Miami will be facing a former league MVP in Drew Brees and looking for its first 4-0 start since 1995. Think about how fun that trip back in time could be...

Mike Ferguson is a staff writer at Dolphin Shout and the founder and editor of Outside the Redzone. Like Outside the Redzone on Facebook! Also, follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

You Tell Me: Will the Miami Dolphins Win on Monday Night?

The Miami Dolphins have shocked much of the football world after starting the season with three straight wins. Now Miami has to go into New Orleans for some prime time football on Monday night.

My question to you guys is simple: will the Miami Dolphins beat the New Orleans Saints on Monday?

I'll leave the rest to you guys. I'm curious to see what you have to say.

Thanks for stopping by. Email me at I'm also on twitter @PaulDSmythe.

The Miami Dolphins Are Here to Stay

Ryan Tannehill led the Miami Dolphins on a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter, propelling the Dolphins to 3-0, and showing the rest of the NFL that they are, in fact, a team to be reckoned with.

Tannehill threw for 236 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception in Miami's 27-23 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. His second touchdown was a crucial throw to rookie Dion Sims right on the goal line.

Surprisingly, both teams ran the ball well. Miami had 90 combined yards rushing, and Atlanta, without starter Steven Jackson, ran for 146 yards. Miami's defense struggled stopping the run early, but they tightened up when they had to. That's a running theme with this group. When it comes down to it they'll get the stops needed to win the game. There are definitely things that need to be fixed (i.e. sub-par secondary play, not enough pressure by the defensive line), but overall this team is looking pretty darn good.

No player really stood out on offense other than Tannehill. This was an all-around team effort. Nine different players caught a pass from Tannehill (including the oft-maligned Michael Egnew, who had an eight yard catch on the crucial scoring drive). Brandon Gibson was excellent on the last drive. He had multiple catches and almost scored a touchdown, but he was stopped at the one yard line.

Looking ahead, the Dolphins head to New Orleans next week for a Monday night matchup against the 3-0 Saints. A win against Drew Brees would be huge. That's going to end up being a really good game.

I'll leave you guys with this statistic: historically, whenever a team starts out 3-0 they have a 75% chance of making the playoffs.

Thanks for stopping by. Email me at I'm also on twitter @PaulDSmythe.

Miami Dolphins vs. Atlanta Falcons Game Chat

This win will tell us a lot about where the Miami Dolphins are in the NFL.

Click here to watch the game live. If the video is covered up by an advertisement look for a small, gray "x" hidden on the left side of the ad. Pop-up blockers are recommended.

5-Year Phiniversary: Ronnie Runs (And Passes) Miami past Pats

The day was September 21st, 2008 as the 0-2 Miami Dolphins arrived in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Miami was coming off of a 31-10 blowout loss in Arizona and entered Week 3 of the 2008 season having lost 20 of their last 21 football games.

2008: Dolphins 38, Patriots 13 (
The New England Patriots were fresh off of a perfect regular season and had won seven straight AFC East titles. The Patriots had fallen short to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII the previous season, but arrived for that late September contest with a record of 2-0 and winners of 21 straight regular season games.

Although the Patriots had lost quarterback Tom Brady for the season in Week 1, New England was still heavy favorites over the seemingly lowly Dolphins. Behind backup Matt Cassel, the Patriots had begun the season with victories over the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets with the defense allowing just 10 points in each.

But while most thought that the Patriots would leave Gillette Stadium that day with a 3-0 record and a 22nd straight regular season win, New England had no idea what was in store for them. In a game that would change the direction of the season for the Miami Dolphins, the New England Patriots and the NFL was introduced Dolphins offensive coordinator Dan Henning's new offensive gimmick known affectionately as the "Wildcat".

Much like the zone-read is run today, the Wildcat featured an option type scheme, but rather than having quarterback Chad Pennington take the snaps, the Dolphins' shotgun snaps went directly to running back Ronnie Brown. Brown took the snap usually with Miami's other talented running back, Ricky Williams, in motion. Sometimes Brown would keep the ball, sometimes he would hand it to Williams, but whatever he did that day, the Patriots had absolutely no answer for it.

Brown rushed for three first half touchdowns to give the Dolphins what was an unthinkable 21-6 lead at the break. With just under six minutes to play in the third quarter and the score unchanged, Brown added a fourth touchdown, this time with his arm. Brown's 19-yard touchdown toss to Anthony Fasano gave the Dolphins a 28-6 lead.

New England scored on its ensuing drive to cut the lead back to 15, but Brown put an exclamation on what was a stellar day on the first play of the fourth quarter. From the Wildcat formation, Brown took the first play of the final period 62 yards for his fourth rushing touchdown of the day and fifth total. Dan Carpenter would add a field goal later on for the Dolphins and Miami left Foxboro that day with a 38-13 thumping of rival New England.

Brown finished the day with 113 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 17 carries while Williams added 98 yards on 16 carries. As a team, the Dolphins rushed for 216 yards while averaging six yards-per-carry. Chad Pennington, in what would be his first win as Miami's quarterback, also had a stellar day completing all but three his 20 attempts for 226 yards.

For just the second time in 22 games the Miami Dolphins were winners, and for the first time in that same regular season span, the Patriots were losers. For the remainder of the season, Miami's Wildcat helped keep opposing defenses off balance as the Dolphins reeled off 11 wins over their final 14 games to finish 11-5 and complete the NFL's best single-season turnaround after just a 1-15 campaign in 2007.

Miami captured the division title that season, their first in eight years. The division title also meant that the Dolphins were playoff bound for the first time in seven seasons. The Patriots went on to finish 2008 with an 11-5 record as well, but missed out on the playoffs and an eighth straight AFC East championship thanks to that September afternoon in Foxboro.

Fortunes have certainly been different for the franchises since as New England has claimed each of the last four division crowns while Miami has had four straight losing seasons. But September 21st, 2008 was a day that stemmed the tide for the Miami Dolphins and it remains one of the team's best victories in recent memory.

Mike Ferguson is a staff writer at Dolphin Shout and the founder and editor of Outside the Redzone. Like Outside the Redzone on Facebook! Also, follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

The Miami Dolphins Have the Best Quarterback in the AFC East

That's right. At this point in time the Dolphins have the highest rated quarterback in the AFC East.

According to Pro Football Focus, Ryan Tannehill is the 9th rated quarterback in the entire NFL. Tom Brady is at 20, EJ Manuel is at 26, and Geno Smith is at 28. And no, none of this is a misprint.

Tannehill has quarterback rating of 94.2. Brady's rating is 74.1, Manuel's is 96. 3, and Smith's rating is 55.2. As you can see, PFF doesn't go by quarterback rating alone to come up with their results.

The darlings of the league: Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III (RG2.5), and Colin Kaepernick are all below Tannehill. To be honest I was really surprised to see Tannehill above those three.

Tannehill has raised his quarterback rating 20 points over last year. None of this suggests that Tannehill will stay where he is, but it does show that he can play at pretty high level. If Ryan stays at that level, the Miami Dolphins will be looking at winning season this year.

It's a bit early to call Tannehill the future of the Dolphins, but it sure is looking that way at this point in time.  This week's game is another stepping stone for the Dolphins. If they can get the job done this week, look out. There is no telling where Tannehill can take this team.

30-Year Phiniversary: The Debut of Dan Marino

The day was September 19th. The year was 1983. The opponent was the Los Angeles Raiders and the scene was Monday Night Football. It was a day that would change the Miami Dolphins franchise forever and for the better.

The Dolphins did not win that humid, September night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, but what they did witness was the debut of the greatest quarterback ever to take snaps for their franchise.

After Greg Pruitt's five-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter gave the Raiders a 27-0 lead, Dolphins head coach Don Shula decided that it was time to sit starting quarterback David Woodley. Woodley had helped lead Miami to the Super Bowl the previous season and was having far from a terrible night going 10-for-18 passing with 144 yards and an interception. But nevertheless, Shula decided that it was time to give the rookie from Pittsburgh a chance.

Dan Marino, a draft pick taken by Miami late in the first round, walked onto the field for the first time and while he was unable to rally the Dolphins from a 27-point hole, the sense that Miami had something special came immediately.

Marino finished the night 11-for-17 for only 90 yards passing, but led two scoring drives against a Los Angeles defense that had shut Miami out for three quarters. Marino's first career touchdown toss went to tight end Joe Rose from six yards out to make it 27-7.

Later in the quarter, Marino added a second touchdown pass, this one to a player he would end up playing the next 10 years with, wide receiver Mark Duper.

The Dolphins fell to 2-1 on the season that night losing 27-14, but the Marino era in Miami had arrived. Marino went on to finish his rookie season with 2,210 yards and 20 touchdowns compared to just six interceptions and the rest was history.

With Marino at the helm, Miami had just one losing season over his 17-year career. Marino finished his NFL career with 61,361 yards passing and 420 touchdowns, both were league records at the time of his retirement following the 1999 season. Today, the stadium where the Miami Dolphins play their home games sits on Dan Marino Boulevard with a statue of the great number 13 just outside of it.

Mike Ferguson is a staff writer at Dolphin Shout and the founder and editor of Outside the Redzone. Like Outside the Redzone on Facebook! Also, follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

Dolphin Shout Will Be on Sports Radio Tonight

Hello fellow Miami Dolphins fans. The Shout has been invited to be on a Sports Radio Show tonight. Click here tonight to tune in to the show.

Tonight at 9:45 PM EST to hear me, "Riverdog", try not to embarrass myself. From what I understand there will be two other guests on the show along with me. I was told the segment will last about 10 minutes. I'll be talking Dolphins and would love for you guys to listen along.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoy the show!

Tannehill Gaining on 2012 QB Class

The 2012 NFL Draft class of quarterbacks has already been drawing comparisons to the 1983 class that produced future Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and, of course, Dan Marino. The comparisons came with good reason a year ago as Andrew Luck guided the Indianapolis Colts to an 11-win season after just a 2-14 finish the year before. Robert Griffin III delivered the Washington Redskins their first division title since 1999 while Russell Wilson, although not a first round pick, helped bring an 11-5 campaign and a playoff appearance to Seattle.

A largely forgotten man in that draft class was eighth overall pick Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill, a former receiver at Texas A&M, was taken by the Miami Dolphins and led Miami to a 7-9 season as a rookie. Through two games in 2013 however, Tannehill is being overlooked no more. The second-year man has led his team to victories over two of his counterparts from the 2012 draft, Luck and Cleveland's Brandon Weeden.

Most would agree that Tannehill is not yet as accomplished in his young career as Griffin, Luck or Wilson, but through two games this season, Tannehill has his team 2-0. Wilson's Seahawks also are 2-0, but every other quarterback taken from the 2012 draft class has at least one loss while Griffin's Redskins and Weeden's Browns are each 0-2. Head-to-head against other members of that class, Tannehill has the best record as a starter at 3-1.

Record as starter vs. QBs from 2012 class
Tannehill (MIA) 3-1
Griffin III (WAS) 2-1
Luck (IND) 2-1
Kirk Cousins (WAS) 1-0
Wilson (SEA) 1-1
Nick Foles (PHI) 0-2
Weeden (CLE) 0-4

While Russell Wilson is leading a team in Seattle that many believe are destined to appear in the Super Bowl, his numbers this season in terms of passing yards and completion percentage are behind Tannehill's. The two each have two touchdown tosses on the young season and each has one interception.

Wilson has won seven straight regular season games as Seattle's starter, but his last loss came to Tannehill in Miami last November as Tannehill rallied Miami for a 24-21 victory. But while Wilson and the Seahawks were impressive in a 29-3 victory over San Francisco on Sunday night, Tannehill became just the second visiting quarterback to win in Indianapolis in 12 tries.

Both of Miami's wins this season have come on the road and both with the Dolphins trailing in the second half. While the Dolphins are 2-0 on the road in 2013, the rest of the league is a dismal 9-21 away from home. As far as the Dolphins' quarterback goes, Tannehill is winning games in the second half as opposed to last season when his biggest task was not to lose them.

Without a running game in Week 1, Tannehill led the Dolphins on two touchdown drives in the second half including a 10-play, 85-yard march in the fourth quarter that all but put Cleveland away.

Last week, Tannehill drove Miami for its only touchdown of the second half with just under five minutes to play in the third quarter. But in the final quarter, Tannehill converted enough third downs in the second half to keep Luck and the high-powered Indianapolis passing attack off the field.

While big things have come to be expected out of 2012 draftees Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, Miami's Ryan Tannehill is making up ground on his draft class in a hurry. Tannehill is averaging just under 300 yards-per-game passing through two weeks and is making plays when his team needs him the most. Tannehill is also 10th in the league in terms of completion percentage thus far, tops among quarterbacks taken in the 2012 NFL Draft. Making that statistic more impressive is the fact that Tannehill has done so while ranking eighth in the NFL in yards-per-attempt.

Luck, Griffin and Wilson all appear well on their ways to long successful careers, but the stellar quarterback class of 2012 has just gotten deeper. Since the retirement of Dan Marino following the 1999 season, the Miami Dolphins have been perpetually searching for a franchise quarterback. If the first two weeks of the 2013 season are any indication as to how good Ryan Tannehill can be, Miami fans should be very optimistic that their franchise quarterback has arrived.

Mike Ferguson is a staff writer at Dolphin Shout and the founder and editor of Outside the Redzone. Like Outside the Redzone on Facebook! Also, follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

Dolphins Outlast Colts in Battle of Second Year Quarterbacks

The Miami Dolphins were able to stop Andrew "Captain Comeback" Luck late and hold on to a 24-20 victory over the Colts.

Tannehill went 23-for-34 with 319 passing yards and a touchdown. His 107.4 passer rating was significantly better than Luck's 79.7 thanks to an interception by Brent Grimes in the fourth quarter.

Miami's running game bounced back from a terrible Week 1 thanks in part to much better blocking by the offensive line. Lamar Miller had 14 carries for 69 yards and Daniel Thomas added eight carries for 30 yards.

Mike Wallace, who made national news this week because of his frustration following a poor performance in the season opener, finished the game with nine receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown. His production came at the expense of Brandon Gibson, who only had one catch, but I think that's how this offense will work a lot of the time. Different receivers will have big games from week to week because of more favorable matchups. It doesn't really matter to me as long as it works.

The Dolphins struggled against Luck on defense. If Brent Grimes hadn't intercepted a pass intended for Reggie Wayne in the end zone this could have been a completely different game. Miami missed a few potential sacks because of Luck's ability to shake off tacklers and scramble with the ball. It really almost bit them in the butt late when the Colts were driving.

I know it's still early in the season, but things are looking promising for the Dolphins. Ryan Tannehill is really showing that he deserves to be an NFL quarterback.

I can't forgive to give a special mention to Charles Clay. Clay had a big 67 yard reception that helped lead to Miami's second touchdown. He finished the game with five receptions for 109 yards and a rushing touchdown.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you guys enjoyed the game. Email me at I'm also on twitter @PaulDSmythe.

Miami Dolphins at Colts Game Chat

Sorry for the delay. For whatever reason it slipped my mind.

Click here to watch the game live

Dolphins-Colts will be Decided on Third Down

The Colts killed Miami on 3rd down in 2012. (Photo: SBNation)
After a 23-10 season-opening victory over the Cleveland Browns, the Miami Dolphins will look to open the season 2-0 as they travel to take on the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are coming off of an 11-5 playoff campaign in 2012 and Indianapolis 23-20 victory over Miami last November helped change the course of the season for both teams.

November 4th of last season, the Dolphins and Colts met in Indianapolis with each team in the thick of the AFC playoff race with identical 4-3 records. The Dolphins jumped to a 17-10 lead that day with just over five minutes to play in the second quarter. But behind 433 yards and two touchdowns passing from rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, the Colts rallied.

The win that day for Indianapolis triggered a finish to the season that saw the Colts win seven of their final nine games while Miami fizzled going 3-6 over its final nine games. The key statistic that day was not Luck's 433 yards passing or the Colts 516 yards as a team. Instead, it was what they did on third down going 13-for-19 and keeping the Dolphins defense on the field.

It was not only the fact that the Colts converted third down after third down, it was the third downs in which they converted that made last season's loss so frustrating. Throughout the day, Indianapolis converted a 3rd-and-10, 3rd-and-11, 3rd-and-12, 3rd-and-14, 3rd-and-16 and even a 3rd-and-20. Those six conversions on third down led to all, but three of the Colts 23 points that day.

As is the case with most NFL games, third down conversions will once again play a huge role on Sunday as the Dolphins look for their first 2-0 start since 2010. Miami is hopeful that Sunday's contest has much more of a resemblance to last week's opener in Cleveland rather than last year's game in Indianapolis.

In Week 1, Miami held Brandon Weeden and the Browns to a dismal 1-for-14 on third down including a 0-for-9 effort in the second half. Obviously, Weeden does not have the athletic ability of an Andrew Luck and is not as proven a NFL quarterback, but the effort by the Miami defense was impressive nonetheless.

While the Browns couldn't seem to move the sticks on third down, Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins offense proved to be very efficient. Thanks largely to the effort of Tannehill, the Dolphins were 8-for-16 on Sunday when it came to converting third downs with Tannehill going 8-for-12 with 81 yards on third down.

Though last season's loss at Indianapolis helped lead to Miami's downward spiral, Sunday's contest presents the Dolphins an opportunity for the opposite effect. Despite winning by the third largest margin of victory throughout the NFL in Week 1, Miami's victory over Cleveland went largely unnoticed. Should Miami become just the second team to win in Indianapolis during the Andrew Luck era, just maybe a few more heads will start to turn.

Mike Ferguson is a staff writer at Dolphin Shout and the founder and editor of Outside the Redzone. Like Outside the Redzone on Facebook! Also, follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson.

The Miami Dolphins In or Out?

The preceding rant is not directed at or have anything to do with the great folks here at Dolphin Shout. It's directed at the writers and fans replying to the blogs in the Miami Herald and Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.  Personally I think these folks should move on to another city and write for another team. It is obvious, "Hometown" has no meaning.

The Broncos beat the Ravens 49 to 27 and the Chiefs beat the Jaguars 28 to 2, why care about these scores? Those were the only games in week one of the NFL with a higher point differential than the 13 point margin of victory for the Miami Dolphins over the Cleveland Browns.

In the thirteen other league games, the average margin of victory was less than 5 points. The Broncos rolled up a staggering 49 points on 7 Manning TD throws and the Jags staggered to a lowly safety. Those far-flung numbers represent the stratospheric difference between these two teams but largely, the NFL is a league of parity and it is easy to place teams under a microscope before stepping back to view the big picture.

Lost in the negative reactions to Mike Wallace and the anemic offensive line play was the line set in Vegas, the Dolphins were picked to lose. On the road, without a running game, while completing only one pass to prized off-season acquisition Mike Wallace, Miami found a way to win.

If told prior to the game, Miami would rush for a grand total of 20 yards and Mike Wallace would catch one pass for 15 yards, the thought of a 13-point victory would be dismissed as fantasy. The reality is, Miami played as underdogs in a hostile environment. They looked like a team in the confusion of the first week of the season and yet came away with a convincing victory.

It seems Miami fans enjoy the anguish of defeat much more than the luster of victory. Immediately following the game, the headline read, “Philbin has much work to do!” Why? Because Mike Wallace was unhappy, and Randy Starks gave his teammates a middle finger salute. When the headline should have read, “Cameron Wake Leads a Crushing Miami Defense to Victory!” The media fabricates a story about Mike Wallace’s hurt feelings. The offensive line play is proclaimed as the doom soon to follow the gloom of a victory against the lowly Browns.

Imagine being a member of the Miami Dolphins and having victory shoved in your face like rubbing a puppy’s nose in the foul stench of oops on the carpet. Thirteen games won by an average of less than five points and Miami fans complain about winning by 13 points.

There may be a few elite teams in the NFL and there are probably a few dregs, but most of the league’s teams straddle the middle of the pack scratching to get over the edge. The only way over the top is to beat the other middlings. Nothing pretty is necessary, no eighty-yard bombs or pick sixes, just the sweet taste of victory. The taste Miami fans refuse to savor…

Any given Sunday a team will rise from the ashes and snatch an unlikely victory, but this win over Cleveland was no anomaly. Miami was clearly the better football team even with an inconsistent rushing attack and a number one receiver relegated to a decoy.

Vince Lombardi had a saying, “winning is contagious and so is losing.” In those words, Miami fans must understand the importance of this victory to start the season. League-wide parity alludes to the fact that there is little difference between the talent levels of players on different teams. The difference in the level of play comes from the contagion known as victory.

To sell the effect of that potion short is to show a lack of understanding of the human spirit. Few teams thrive on adversity, the vast majority respond to positive reinforcement. The Miami Dolphins may have lost their gleam, but the media and fans are far worse than even the ignorant New York Jet fans. The difference is, even when the Jets suck, the fans still cheer for them as if Joe Namath was behind center. In Miami, the MO is to berate the quarterback because he is not Dan Marino, rather than stand behind him and build his confidence.

Fans only believe they have impact as the 12 man in lending some mystical power to victory. They rarely see themselves as the broken arrow stuck in the wound of defeat.

The trend of negativity began when Don Shula could not lead a Dan Marino quarterbacked Dolphin team to a Superbowl victory even when ten win seasons were the norm. The time has come to break the chain. The time has come for the media and fans to step up and show support
in Miami. A barrage of ridiculous comments follows every blog entry on the newspaper sites. Harsh hurtful words typed by vicious anonymous characters that can only raise their own self-esteem by caustically lambasting others. 

Is this what Miami Dolphins fans have turned into? Are these fans truly expecting a team of men to respond positively to this input? If so they are remarkably myopic.

Football has become overwhelmed by its own success. Jealousy over a football player making millions while a teacher labors in obscurity cannot change the millions of dollars sponsors flood into the league’s pockets. The choice is simple, stop watching. If it is so difficult to be a fan, for whatever reason, stop watching.

Spend the time wasted on angry comments and worthless banter on pursuits that may give life a meaning. Make the choice to be a Miami Dolphin fan and use that energy to reinforce the positive.

Winning is contagious, be a winner, act like a winner, react like a winner and perhaps your favorite team will turn out to be winners as well.

Dolphins Defensive Front Proves to Be Deep and Talented vs. Browns

While it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows in the Miami Dolphins 23-10 season-opening victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, their first opening day victory since 2010 at Buffalo, there were a lot of positives and some negatives. The 23 rushes for 20 yards stuck out as a sore spot, but the play of Charles Clay at the tight end position was encouraging for Miami as was the maturation of quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the three forced turnovers from a defense that took the ball away just 16 times all last season. As nice as it is for the Dolphins to be 1-0 with a brutal upcoming schedule, Sunday afternoon belonged to the defensive line.

Wake had 2.5 sacks on Sunday. (Photo:
Expected to be one of the brighter spots for a team with playoff aspirations in 2013, the Miami Dolphins defensive line far from disappointed on Sunday. The Dolphins finished the afternoon with six sacks and kept pressure on Cleveland's second-year quarterback, Brandon Weeden, for much of the day. What makes Sunday's effort from the front four even better was the fact that it wasn't a one-man, two-man or even a four-man show. While it's only one game, Miami looks to not only have one of the best, but one of the deepest defensive lines in the NFL as well.

It was business as usual for Cameron Wake, who finished with 2.5 sacks on Sunday while Randy Starks seemed to put any issues he may have had with the organization aside to record a sack and a half of his own. On the interior with Starks, Paul Soliai showed that he was more than just a run-stuffer as Soliai batted down two passes and drew plenty of attention to open things up for other pass rushers.

While Olivier Vernon and the versatile Jared Odrick combined for just one tackle, the combo spent much of the day in the Cleveland backfield. Also getting in on the sack action was defensive end Derrick Shelby, who entered the preseason far from a lock to make the team. Shelby finished the day with a sack and a forced fumble which he nearly ripped from the hands of Weeden.

Although the final sack of the day for Miami was marred by a 15-yard facemask penalty which gave Cleveland a first down, it may have been the most encouraging. Rookie and third overall pick Dion Jordan, who had his preseason reps limited due to injury, corralled Weeden on a speed rush for his first career sack with roughly two minutes to play.

While Miami allowed 289 yards passing to Weeden, it came with a completion rate of less than 50 percent (26-for-53). The Dolphins' defensive front was also largely responsible for holding the Browns' talented second-year back Trent Richardson to a pedestrian 47 yards rushing on 13 carries with just 14 yards coming after halftime.

While Sunday was not a perfect day for the Dolphins, their record after one game is. Miami erased a 7-6 halftime deficit to outscore Cleveland 17-3 in the second half with the front four looking even better than advertised. It won't easy to record six sacks every week for Miami, but with the depth and talent that was on display on Sunday, the Dolphins look to be frequent visitors to opposing backfields. With so much depth and versatility as well, this won't be any team to pound away at late in games either.

Mike Ferguson is a staff writer at Dolphin Shout and the founder and editor of Outside the Redzone. Like Outside the Redzone on Facebook! Also, follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson.

Miami Dolphins Top Browns 23-10

Miami opened the season in Cleveland with a 13-point victory over the Browns on Sunday off of an excellent day from the Dolphins defense.

Second year quarterback Ryan Tannehill had a very good game, throwing for 272 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. He seemed in control of the offense and was able to go through Cleveland's secondary with relative ease.

Miami had an abysmal day running the ball, averaging 0.9 yards per carry. I can't remember the last time I saw a Dolphins offense run that poorly. Hopefully it won't end up being a trend.

Miami was a terror on the defensive side of the ball, sacking Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden six times and intercepting his throws three times. They also held Browns back Trent Richardson to only 47 yards on the ground (3.6 per carry).

Overall it was a good game for Miami. They were able to move the ball through the air easily despite some early pass protection issues, and they were able to limit Cleveland to only 10 points. At this point those who chose to use a bookmakers offer to back the Dolphins in the betting will have been extremely hopeful for a return on their bet.

Next week the Dolphins head to Indianapolis in a rematch of last year's loss to the Andrew Luck-led Colts. The Colts are coming off of a narrow victory to the Raiders this week, so they are definitely beatable.

Hope you guys enjoyed the game. Thanks for stopping by. Email me at I'm also on twitter @PaulDSmythe.

Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns Live Game Chat

We've finally arrived. The Dolphins are in Cleveland today to play the Browns. Here's to a week 1 victory.

Click here to watch the game live. Don't download anything or click on any ads. You don't need them to watch the game.

10-Year Phiniversary: Epic Fail to Houston in Opener

2003: Texans 21, Dolphins 20 (Photo: AP)
Today, Saturday, September 7th marks the 10th anniversary of one of the worst opening day losses in Miami Dolphins history. On the eve of the 2013 opener against a Cleveland team that finished just 5-11 a season ago seems like a bad time to bring this one up, but it happened nonetheless. Here is a look back:

Expectations were high for the Miami Dolphins entering the 2003 season. A late-season letdown in 2002 and a loss to the New England Patriots in the season finale kept Miami from a second division title in three years and a third straight playoff appearance. With running back Ricky Williams in his second season in Miami and coming off a franchise-record 1,853 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns, many believed that 2003 would be the Dolphins' year.

The Dolphins were also stacked on defense with stars like defensive end Jason Taylor, linebacker Zach Thomas and the cornerback duo of Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain. Miami had even upgraded an already stellar defense in the offseason with the additions of future Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau and former Pro Bowl safety Sammy Knight.

The Dolphins were set to open the 2003 season at home against the Houston Texans, a team in its second year in existence. The Texans had won just four games in their inaugural season and the expectations weren't high for 2003.

Miami came into the contest as a 14-point favorite and at the time, the Dolphins had the league's longest opening day winning streak at 12. While number 13 seemed like a sure thing, it was far from the case that day.

Houston jumped to a 6-0 lead, but a pair of touchdown passes by Miami's Jay Fielder in the second quarter gave the Dolphins a 14-6 lead at the break.

The Texans scored nine points in the third quarter on a long touchdown pass from David Carr to Corey Bradford and the third field goal of the day from Kris Brown to grab a 15-14 lead after three.

Miami answered with 12:24 to play in the final period on Jay Fiedler's third touchdown pass of the day, a 35-yard toss to Williams. The score put Miami up 20-15, but the two-point conversion was failed.

After Brown's fourth field goal of the day made it 20-18 with 4:55 to play, Fiedler threw his second interception of the day which proved to be the most costly. Fiedler was intercepted by Marcus Coleman, also his second pick of the day, at Miami's 36-yard-line with under three minutes to play.

It took Houston seven plays to reach Miami's 18-yard-line before Brown knocked home his fifth field goal with 25 seconds remaining which gave the Texans a 21-20 lead and the eventual victory. The season that began with such high hopes started with an unthinkable loss for the Dolphins. The game however, did serve as a wake-up call as Miami won each of its next four games by double figures.

That season, Miami finished 10-6 to notch their seventh straight winning season. Unfortunately, the Dolphins fell one win shy of the playoffs and the opening loss to Houston would turn out to be the one that slipped away.

The Texans finished just 5-11 that season, but improved to 2-0 in season openers. To this day, they remain the only NFL team that the Miami Dolphins have yet to defeat.

Mike Ferguson is a staff writer at Dolphin Shout and the founder and editor of Outside the Redzone. Like Outside the Redzone on Facebook! Also, follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson.

The Ryan Tannehill Plan in Miami

The Miami Dolphins 2013 season begins Sunday in Cleveland and for the second straight year Ryan Tannehill takes the reigns as the starting QB. In Miami Dolphin fandom, there is a fixation with the quarterback.

The shadow of Dan Marino has loomed large over the Dolphins since he retired in 1999. The reasons are plenty, drafted in the 1st round of the famed 1983 "year of the quarterback," Marino’s career eclipsed nearly every passing record in NFL history. Danny’s notorious gun slinging came prior to the proliferation of the passing game in the NFL. To many fans, Marino paved the way for a new breed of passer since his remarkable skills led all the way to the hall of fame.

Thirteen years later, fans in Miami are still obsessed with the quarterback, so much so, Ryan Tannehill is only the 3rd passer to enter a second season as the starting signal caller since Marino. Of the others, Jay Fiedler was a game manager in Dave Wannstedt’s power running offense and Chad Pennington was permanently injured three games into his 2nd season.

Great QBs leave a tequila sized hangover after retirement. It took Peyton Manning to make Denver fans forget John Elway. In San Francisco, Colin Kaepernick has a chance to emerge from the shadow of Joe Montana and Steve Young.

Ryan Tannehill is an interesting example of how the landscape of the NFL is changing with the introduction of the rookie salary cap. QBs like Jamarcus Russell entered the league with all the expectations of a $20 million dollar a year price tag. Tannehill’s $12+ million dollar contract is $7 million less over four years than Russell made in a single season. Changing the investment, changes the expectations. Miami can afford to bring Tannehill along slowly now that the bank is not broken.

There is no longer the need to run a developing QB out of town shouting "bust" when the salary cap makes it conducive to bringing him along slowly. The Dolphins knew Tannehill started only twenty games at QB in college, but with his college head coach and QB coach joining the Dolphin's staff, there was no mystery. Miami would depend on a stellar defense and slowly develop Tannehill into an NFL QB. Perhaps unrecognized around the NFL, the Dolphins are breaking new ground in wisely using the rookie cap. If Jamarcus Russell is the poster child for not paying players before they have earned the big payday, Tannehill may prove the opposite.

2012 was an anomaly with five rookie QBs stepping straight into a starting role. Even the famed draft of 1983 did not see more QBs starting with Marino not taking the first snap until the 6th game of the season. The fact is most QBs take time to develop in the NFL. The previous Collective Bargaining Agreement with its continuous escalation of rookie salaries, left owners and fans demanding starting roles from day one. Russell joined Ryan Leaf and a litany of other QBs unable to hold up under the scrutiny of winning the lottery with the expectation to perform at the level of their riches.

To ease the burden on Ryan Tannehill, the Dolphins quietly put together the best collection of young defensive talent Miami has seen in forty years. Whether preordained or coincidence, the order of business in Miami is clearly to lean on an exceptional defense while building the team around an emerging QB. It's an old school approach to the new school NFL. The style of play and the type of player has evolved, but the coaching in Miami has reverted to the days before rookie salaries escalated beyond the ability to coach performance on the field.

While fans and the media fixate on the QB position, NFL offensive coordinators contemplate how to block Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon and Dion Jordan. Double team any of these three and the trio of Paul Soliai, Randy Starks and Jared Odrick await in the middle of the line. The Miami defensive line may be the most talented six-man rotation in the NFL. Behind them, speedy Dannell Ellerbe, Philip Wheeler and Koa Misi form an impressive linebacking crew. The Duo of Chris Clemons and Rashad Jones return at safety to lead an experienced secondary featuring former pro bowler Brent Grimes and Dimitri Patterson at the corners. Patterson may have trouble holding his own against the best NFL receivers, but the ball will need to be in the air quickly when Wake, Vernon and Jordan pin their ears back on the pass rush.

The strength of the Miami defense is not by coincidence as the Philbin plan becomes apparent. Media, fans, GMs and owners caught in the instant gratification craze plant their QBs squarely in the cross-hairs. Many consider quarterback to be the hardest position to play in all of sports, yet the expectation of these supreme athletes is instant success or else. Success not instantly achieved equals catastrophic failure in the court of public opinion and
ever-present character assault in the forum of social media.

The curiosity is, these same lambasters will blurt out a comparison to Aaron Rodgers when Rodgers sat four seasons behind Brett Favre. Tannehill is no Drew Brees who walked away as a free agent from San Diego after three miserable seasons. The Pittsburg Steelers cut John Unitas. Talent alone does not dictate the path to QB greatness in the NFL, it is an intangible desire to win no matter how many times failure has interrupted the quest. The question then is, does Ryan Tannehill have the desire?

Joe Philbin learned English in high school from a teacher named Mike Sherman. After thirty-three years, these two men may have switched roles, but clearly, the trust is absolute. Their careers ride on the answer to that question; does Ryan Tannehill have the desire for greatness? The skills are obvious, but these coaches are well aware of how difficult it is to play quarterback in an NFL offense. All the desire in the world will not overcome the inability to recognize defenses or see openings destined to appear during the sequence of a play.

Before Aaron Rodgers emerged, he was coached by these two men. The Green Bay Packers rose to prominence during the tenures of these two men. The media and fans should stand in front of a mirror and ask, are they more qualified to assess Ryan Tannehill? Don Shula once looked Dan Marino in the eye and completely changed his offense. Since then, no group of coaches, a GM or owner has had as much skin in the game. Their entire experience and future legacy is riding on their assessment of a single player, Ryan Tannehill.

Trust is a fool’s game they say. The Miami Dolphin organization is all in and thankfully, the English teacher and assay writer still trust and understand the word coach is a synonym for teacher. Ryan Tannehill may not yet live up to the fans or media expectation, but as long as his teachers see the progression, perhaps the outsiders should leave his potential to the experts. Sooner or later, the understanding of the game will catch up to the desire and Ryan Tannehill will reward his teachers.

Instead of vitriol, Miami fans should sit back and enjoy the ride.

Of course, there will be plenty of time after the plan reaches fruition for KV to say...

“I told you so!"

Tannehill vs. Weeden: A Matchup of Second-Year QBs

On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns will kick off the 2013 season against one another in Cleveland. Starting for both squads will be a second-year quarterback taken in the first round of last year's NFL Draft. While neither Ryan Tannehill nor Brandon Weeden had the type of rookie season in 2012 as say, Indianapolis' Andrew Luck, Washington's Robert Griffin III or Seattle's Russell Wilson, Sunday's contest should be a solid indicator of how far each has come as a NFL quarterback from year one.

(Photo: Brett Davis/US Presswire)
For the Miami Dolphins, big things are expected out of Ryan Tannehill in year number two. Tannehill threw just 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions a season ago, but improved as the year went on. Tannehill led the Dolphins to a 7-9 season, but kept them mathematically alive in the playoff race until Week 16. Tannehill also led Miami to victories over playoff teams Cincinnati and Seattle after the Dolphins failed to beat a playoff team the previous year.

The Dolphins have upgraded the supporting cast of last year's eighth overall pick from Texas A&M bringing in Brandon Gibson and former Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Wallace to compliment last season's leading receiver Brian Hartline. Balance and protection will be the biggest questions for the Miami offense, but if Tannehill can get time to throw and the running game can keep opposing defenses honest, there is a strong possibility that he can be the most improved quarterback in the entire NFL in 2013.

For Cleveland, who finished just 5-11 in 2012, the expectations aren't as high, but significant improvement is expected from Brandon Weeden, the 22nd overall pick in last season's draft. Like Tannehill, Weeden threw more picks (17) than touchdowns (14) as a rookie. Weeden however, did lead the Browns to three wins over the final five games and complete better than 63 percent of his passes during that stretch.

Unlike Miami, who will be expecting big numbers from Tannehill, the bigger task for Weeden will be not losing games. With another second-year man in running back Trent Richardson, likely to carry the offense, Weeden and the Browns' passing game should have less on its shoulders.

Both quarterbacks were impressive in the preseason as Weeden finished 30-for-50 with 344 yards and three touchdowns in three preseason games. In four games for the Miami Dolphins, Tannehill was 34-for-56 with 387 yards and three scores. Neither Weeden nor Tannehill threw an interception this preseason.

Weeden will likely need to convert third downs for the Browns to have success against a revamped Miami cornerback duo on Sunday while the Dolphins are hopeful that Tannehill can utilize his new weapons and make big plays that were so few and far between last season against a Browns' defense that finished just 25th against the pass in 2012.

One thing is for certain and that is that both quarterbacks will be looking for better starts than each had in last season's opener. Tannehill threw three second quarter interceptions while the Miami offense was held without a touchdown in a 30-10 loss to Houston. Weeden and the Browns came up just a point short to Philadelphia to kick off last season, but in that contest, Weeden was a dismal 12-for-35 passing with only 118 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions. Miami and Cleveland are set to kick off on Sunday at 1:00 P.M. eastern time.

Mike Ferguson is a staff writer at Dolphin Shout and the founder and editor of Outside the Redzone. Like Outside the Redzone on Facebook! Also, follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson.

Make Your Miami Dolphins Predictions

Yes, I know we have talked about this earlier in the preseason. The difference is now we have seen a little more of the team play. From my seat I am seeing a very good defensive unit. It could be one of the better defenses in the entire league, which could win us a few games this season.

I wonder how many wins Steve Ross is expecting
I do not think we have a playoff worthy offense quite yet. I know Polly will love this, but I see our running game being better than last year. I see our passing game being better than last year as long as Tannehill improves. I don't see our offensive line being a playoff caliber unit, nor is our tight end position. Simply stated, I don't have the confidence in the offensive unit like I do on the defensive side.

I do believe we have more depth than in the past, but even that depth has some weaknesses. We see that with our tight end and I don't think we have much depth at the linebacker position. The offensive line is still looking for starters. If someone goes down in those positions the entire year could change.

So here is my guess. Because of the lack of depth in a few positions I think the Dolphins will go 8-8 this year. If the team goes 3-2 in the opening five games (and I think they can if things go right) then we could be looking at a 10 win season, and that should put us in the playoffs. I suspect a 2-3 start, however, and that will mean we will be under the gun from the get go.

A three-loss start would mean the Dolphins will need to win some high pressure games later on. We have not done well in those situations for quite some time. We have failed in those games far more times that I want to think about. Unless we begin to win some of those games I see a .500 record. We must prove we can beat the good teams, and we must prove we can win the games we should win. We have not done that on a consistent basis, and that needs to change.

So give me your final prediction now that the NFL season officially begins tomorrow.