Miami Dolphins vs Bills Week 17 Game Chat

Last game of the season. Find a stream for the game here.

For Adam Gase in the Words of Don Shula

Adam Gase has serious potential as an NFL head coach, but he must learn from his mistakes. Coaching in this league is a tenuous profession where success is fleeting and failure is one poor decision away. There are certain obvious keys to success and most great coaches have field generals that are an extension of themselves.

Don Shula once said, "People you're responsible for are always looking at you. You want to make sure that all the vibes you give off, all the examples you set, are good ones. You want to be living the life you're talking about."

That same vibe happens with the field general, the quarterback of the football team and extends to the players around him. If the field general has an unemotional almost detached vibe on the football field, by extension, the players around him will emulate that vibe.

“The most important thing you can do, is be credible. That's something you always have to weigh, the credibility part."

If coach Gase sees Jay Cutler as the best extension of himself on the field, but Cutler makes critical mistakes, then Gase loses credibility.

It’s a fine line as Shula pointed out, “Too often coaches want to do the popular thing with the players. Sometimes, though, that's not the best thing you can do.”

So how does Adam Gase overcome this contradiction? What’s popular with the players or the fans may not be right, but at the same time, how does a leader recognize when he’s making a mistake.

It’s tough to be a leader, it’s tough to be a man. The toughest thing for a leader to do, is step back and be critical of his own decisions and realize his own mistakes or shortcomings.

Shula said, “The superior man blames himself. The inferior man blames others.”

Adam Gase thought he could turn Jay Cutler into something he is not, a good quarterback. “Luck means a lot in football. Not having a good quarterback is bad luck.”

Shula knew that because he understood winning in the NFL is overwhelmingly predicated by the play at one position, QB. Shula averaged over 10 wins in 33 seasons for three reasons, Unitas, Griese and Marino.

Cutler and Tannehill have won 10 games 3 times in 18 combined seasons.

“The ultimate goal is victory. And if you refuse to work as hard as you possibly can toward that aim, or if you do anything that keeps you from achieving that goal, then you are just cheating yourself.” Well coach Gase, trying to make winners out of losers might qualify as cheating yourself.

There is nothing wrong with confidence, “Leadership implies movement toward something, and convictions provide that direction.” The goal is winning.

Sometimes coaches get caught up in the fantasy of football, where stats become more important than victories. “What coaching is all about, is taking players and analyzing their ability, put them in a position where they can excel within the framework of the team winning.”

The theme that reverberates through all of these Shula quotes is winning and that’s where tangible abilities meet intangible results. A quarterback can throw the ball a hundred miles, run faster, jump higher and even sometimes be smarter than his competitor and still lose, why? Is it innate?

“I have no magic formula. The only way I know to win is through hard work.”

Well even hard work for a player does not always lead to victories because there’s an intangible that comes with the quarterback position. It’s called leadership.

“Lots of leaders want to be popular. I never cared about that. I want to be respected.”

Many pundits point out that football is a team game and a single position cannot determine victory or defeat. It’s absolutely true except for one flaw, leadership…

Leadership on the field… Bob Griese did not throw it a mile, he did not run very fast, he was not very tall. Yet he bought into the concept of "over learning."

That's Shula’s term, “to emphasize how important it is to not only know what your assignment is, but the assignments of everyone around you and why you are being asked to do what you are asked to do.”

Field generals, don’t bumble and fumble around in critical moments because they have "over learned." They can see the situation with clarity because the plays and defenses are second nature from previous study.

Now they can go about the art of winning. These are the qualities of winners and though much of these rantings imply that perhaps winning can be learned, the truth is, the will to win is the most important gift of all.

Gift... A natural ability or talent.

“When you're there, it's not good enough to be there.” The NFL is the pinnacle of tackle football, but getting to the National Football League is not the highest point, winning once you get there is what determines greatness. There’s a peculiar thing about winners, whether it’s ping pong, horse shoes or football, they win.

Adam Gase can teach his offense, he can instill his philosophies, he can “demand perfection and hope for excellence,” but he can’t teach winning. He needs to go find winners and then teach them his
philosophies, that’s the key.

Don Shula had to make those decisions, “deciding at cut-down date what the final roster would be. Everyone would give their opinion, and very often character would enter into whether we kept a guy or not."

So there’s a bottom line to all this drivel, Jay Cutler and Ryan Tannehill have never been winners. Don Shula knew one when he saw one, he filled his teams with them, winners.

Cutler and Tannehill are incredibly talented men, they learn well, they have all the tangibles any coach could ask for. They don’t win, it’s not an indictment on their abilities, it’s not a knock on who they are or a questioning of their character. They both are really good people, they just don’t lead teams to victory more often then they lead them to defeat.

The quarterback position is not about fantasy stats...

Terry Bradshaw threw as many interceptions as he threw touchdowns, but in the end, he won. Adam Gase, please take a peek at history… Great coaches and great QBs together, create winners. Find a winner and mold him, follow the great man’s footsteps.

“If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.”

Merry Christmas Miami Dolphin Shouters

So this is Christmas...
And what have you done...
Another year older...
And a new one just begun...

So Happy Christmas all you Shouters!

Unfortunately, the Miami Dolphins did not have very many gifts for us this season. Losing starting QB Ryan Tannehill started the disaster. Then a hurricane blew in and cancelled opening week at home. The Dolphins subsequently had no bye and didn't play a home game until a quarter of the season had past. When the offensive line coach was caught filming himself snorting a white powdery substance, it was merely icing on a season lost.

Bringing in Jay Cutler as the starting QB set off what seemed like a chain reaction of ill-fated collapses, more like an avalanche...

Perhaps that one decision undermined the entire camaraderie that had made this team so special the previous year.

Pinning this terrible season on one player is foolishly inappropriate and wrong, but it does seem as though the entire team took on the personality of its new QB. In the midst of crazy disaster after strange event, there was nothing to stabilize the ship and when the boat started listing, there was no leader on the field to keep it from sinking.

But this post is for all the faithful Shouters and Dolphin fans everywhere who have endured this ugly this season together.

Merry Christmas to all of you and your families.

We knew losing our starting QB would make this season very difficult. We learned a lot about our coach, who's whispering was not enough to make Good Jay Cutler appear more often than Bad Jay Cutler. We can only hope our coach also learned this lesson about himself when he begins anew with Ryan Tannehill.

We learned there's still a lot of work needed to field a championship caliber defense and it starts at the linebacker position. They couldn't cover anyone and sometimes had trouble even tackling.

So this is Christmas and I get to make some wishes...

Great and wonderful Oz...

Oh wait that's different...

To the Ghost of Christmas Past, I wish for a fresh new Zach Thomas!

To the Ghost of Christmas Present, I wish for the second coming of Keith Jackson, but I'll settle for Mad Dog Mandich!

To the Ghost of Christmas Future, I wish for brand new Larry Little.

So to all of you Shouters,

Merry Christmas and may all your wishes come true.

Miami Dolphins at Chiefs Week 16 Game Chat

Week 16 matchup in Kansas City. Find a stream of the game here.

Jay Cutler in Miami is a Losing Proposition

With “Good Jay” and “Bad Jay” behind center, Miami becomes a team that is really easy to defend. Teams just beg Jay Cutler to beat them and 40% of the time he will, but unfortunately, 60% of the time, he will not. In this business or any business for that matter, losing 60% of the time is bad for the wallet. Miami cannot continue throwing good money at “Bad Jay.”

It all starts with the dynamic of calling plays during an NFL game. It must be one crazy intense way to make a living! There's little time for deliberation with 40 seconds between stop and start. The coach's headset turns off at the 15 second mark, so now it's down to 25 seconds. Players need to get back and the QB needs settle down to hear the play, so realistically there's only about 15 seconds for the coach to call a play… 15 seconds!

With a head coach like Adam Gase calling the plays, there may be other decisions to make during that moment. The folks complaining about Gase going away from Drake after a couple negative plays, when he's averaging 4.9 yards a carry, are not thinking about the 15 seconds...

Plays are not necessarily scripted, but the scenarios likely to happen are game planned. As the coordinator, it would be impossible for Gase to make effective decisions in 15 seconds. He consequently has a list of scenario related plays on that little sheet of his. This cuts down on the time it takes to make a call. When Drake is dropped for a loss, then it's 2nd and long and the sheet has a list of plays designed for 2nd and long situations.

The success rate for 2nd or 3rd and long is not very high... The coach knows after a couple of Drake runs that the defense is sitting on his 1st down run calls. He has to change direction and go away from Drake on 1st down.

That leads us back to "Good Jay - Bad Jay."

Now Gase is going to try a few little dinks and dunks to replace his first down run. If “Good Jay” has shown up, than the offense begins to take advantage of the defense sitting on Drake. The dinky passes loosen up the linebackers and safeties that have come up to support the run. Now the run starts to pop without 9 defenders in the box and all the sudden Drake is loose in the secondary.

When “Bad Jay” shows up, now Gase has lost Drake to the defensive game plan and he can't depend on Cutler to make a couple little throws to create 2nd or 3rd and manageable... Effectively, he is now calling plays for 2nd or 3rd and long and his game plan is thrown out the window.

This is the difference between having a consistently accurate quarterback and one that is hit or miss week to week.

Every defense Miami plays is banking on "Bad Jay" showing up and Gase is hoping "Good Jay" shows up. By taking out Drake and doubling Jarvis Landry, Miami is really easy to beat when Cutler is inaccurate. Every team knows this...

Imagine Bill Belichick's frustration on the sideline! Can't you just see him thinking, "Dammit!!! Why did Good Jay have to show up against us!" Conversely, the Bills are thinking YAY, Bad Jay!

This is why it's hard to fathom why Adam Gase or the Miami front office would even consider bringing back Jay Cutler. History is the only true predictor on the future and Cutler’s legacy is “Good Jay – Bad Jay.”

Any layperson like myself has to respect Jay Cutler for even stepping on that field. This commentary is not about bashing Jay Cutler. It’s about thinking clearly and making correct decisions going forward.

There’s a thought of Jay Cutler spending more time in the off-season and becoming more acclimated with his teammates and the offense.

In finance they call this, “throwing good money after bad.” For Miami's purposes it fits well, if good money could guarantee “Good Jay,” then go for it. The problem is, history says, Miami would be throwing good money at “Bad Jay” 60% of the time. Not a sound decision.

All Adam Gase really has to do is spend some time after the season understanding why his offense was inconsistent. All of the scenarios outlined above should jump out at him.

Gase has a blind side… He believes he can fix QBs like Jay Cutler. Gase thinks he can fix Ryan Tannehill as well, but that is a discussion for another time. This is the blind side, he is overconfident and doesn’t know when he's throwing good money after a bad decision.

This is what defines great leaders, introspection… Understanding your own weaknesses and not being too stubborn to admit when you’ve made a mistake. Keeping Jay Cutler for another season is a mistake. Bringing him in was not under the circumstances, but keeping Jay Cutler next season…

Is throwing good money at “Bad Jay.”

Adam Gase - Please Find Miami a QB

It is incredibly easy single out Jay Cutler in game like Sunday’s debacle in Buffalo. Against the mighty Patriots we got teased, 65.8 completion percentage, 3 TDs, no intercepts, 112 QB rating, Jay has finally found it! YAY!!!

No so fast Miami fans. The moment you peak over the mediocrity that defines Jay Cutler, he snaps you back to reality faster than Cameron Wake blowing by a right tackle. 57.1 completion percentage, 0 TDs, 3 intercepts, 47.5 QB rating, Jay stinks again and against Buffalo, it was one rotten egg…

This guy played in Denver and Chicago, how did he become a South Floridian in 4 months? The cold in Buffalo did not look like the frozen tundra Rich Stadium is known for, but Jay couldn’t even feel his own fingers. They make gloves for that Jay!  Every snap was an adventure, dropped and kicked around like Bozo the Clown. Jay’s feet were mired in big orange cleats, and he booted everything that came near him. Four
dropped snaps...

“I don’t want it, here you take it!”

You’re the quarterback Jay!

We’re supposed to follow the leader, Jay - You!

Let’s just face it, whatever Adam Gase thought he might get out of Jay Cutler was wrong. Wrong Adam, sorry, the whisper doesn’t work! I’ve been good, it’s fourteen games in and I’ve refrained from blasting Cutler, but this game was pathetic. How can he even look his own teammates in the eye?

Buffalo was okay… It seemed like even a mediocre performance might have won that game. Aside from the defense making Tyrod Taylor look like Tom Brady, after making Tom Brady look like Tyrod Taylor... Miami was still in the game.

There’s always discussion about football being a team sport, Jay Cutler does not play defense, yadda, yadda… Obviously there’s something very special about leadership on the field. Against the Patriots, Terrible Smoking Jay was nonexistent, he was confident, accurate and the team jumped on his back and they all played their highlight game of the season.

Fast forward one week and watch the exact opposite, Jay is fumbling around, can’t catch the snap, can’t throw accurately and what happens? The entire team follows the leader…

Okay, it’s a team game, I get it, but doesn’t this show how the leader of the team defines the character. Even on a game by game basis. This Miami season has been the picture of inconsistency. Every game, no one knows which team is going to show up and it comes right back to that leadership position on the field.

The team is pretty much what the QB is. When Jay is really good, Miami is really good. When Jay is mediocre, Miami is mediocre. When Jay is bad, Miami bad. Now when I go back and think about it, it’s same kind of maddening performances we got with Ryan Tannehill just not so pronounced.

Tannehill is a little steadier than Cutler, but he’s still not that consistent rock. Tannehill comes to work every day and we know what to expect out of him, but during the game it’s still a hit or miss proposition.

It’s usually difficult to define such a complex set of human interactions on the play at one position, but not with Cutler. Tannehill is a little harder to capture into a single box, but to say the team goes as the QB goes is actually quite accurate.

Smoking Jay makes the case study easy because he can be so very good one week and so drastically bad the next. There is no team or coach that can survive this kind of inconsistency. Adam Gase will not survive another season if he does not wave bye-bye to Jay Cutler once this miserable thing is over.

Seeing this play out in such prolific fashion of up and down, good and bad, makes it very clear that the QB position is the deciding factor in good, mediocre or bad over the course of a season.

In the case of Ryan Tannehill, it’s mediocre, sorry folks, that’s what it is… In the case of Cutler, it’s bad. The end result make look exactly the same in the win/loss column, but it’s so much worse. A good coach keeps the team 8 & 8, but without a great QB this is it... That's all folks!

When fans like some of those on Dolphinshout, won’t even speak Dolphin football for days on end. It is bad Miami, it’s bad, because these are the true fans.

Those folks filling the stadium these days, some of them are truly die-hard, but many are just being entertained. There’s no real passion coming from them, it’s a social event and social events like social media are very fickle. It’s instant gratification and when you stop providing it, you’re gone...

So listen to this one die-hard who continues to write even when you’ve already lost a lot of true fans, get Jay Cutler the hell out of here ASAP!

Get Cutler out of here, ASAP!

Do not think for one minute a lot changes with Ryan Tannehill. Look at the records, yes Tannehill’s 8 & 8 is easier to take than maddening Jay’s, but it’s still 8 & 8.

If this little case study experiment you did with Jay Cutler has taught you anything, it’s that the team follows the QB more than the coach.

Adam, listen here please, the team follows the QB…

If he’s good they’ll be good, not matter who they are. If he’s mediocre, they’ll be mediocre. If he’s bad, they’re going to be bad. I know you want to think you have a lot more to do with good and bad, but you don’t because you are not out there once the whistle blows.

Adam Gase, once the whistle blows your team is only as good as the guy they are following and it’s the QB. Great coaches are made by great QBs and if you prefer to think about it the other way around that’s fine, but the point is…

If Adam Gase wants to be a great coach, he’s better go find a great quarterback.

Jay Cutler, not so much…

Ryan Tannehill, average…

You’re better than an average coach...

Please go find a great QB and make Miami great again!

Belichick outcoached in Miami Dolphin Victory

Early in the first drive on Monday night, Adam Gase sent Kenyan Drake in motion to the far sideline, just to watch who followed. When a linebacker scurried after Drake, Gase smiled. Belichick did not think Kenyan Drake could beat him. Jay Cutler promptly threw the pass and though it was only an eight yard gain, Adam Gase had his answer, Kenyan Drake… 114 yards rushing and 79 yard receiving, Ajayi who? This is the offense Gase has been trying to run since landing in Miami.

There was a lot of media talk in New England about respecting the Dolphins, yadda yadda… Reality is, eight straight victories does not help the respect factor. Belichick respects one player on the Dolphins offense, Jarvis Landry. Cringe Miami fans, Billy will be the GM Miami is bidding against when Landry goes on the open market next season, but that is a discussion for another time. Gase confirmed that Landry was the weapon Billy Boy would try to take away and it played straight into the game plan. On one Monday night, Gase had outsmarted Belichick and was ready with Kenyon Drake.

Incredibly, Jay Cutler outperformed Tom Brady throwing 25 of 38 passes for 263 yards, three TDs, but it was Drake who stole the show. Kenyan had 193 total yards and Gase used him all over the field, as a back, in the slot, as a wide out, coming in motion. Belichick had his defense all set up to shut down Landry and Gase figured it out almost immediately. Amazingly, Gase was able to sense when Matt Patricia was leaning toward Drake and it led to two Jarvis Landry TDs.

Cutler was spreading the ball all over the field, hitting seven different receivers in the first half. The TD throw and circus catch by Jakeem Grant was a thing of beauty. Grant also had a chance to ice the game in the fourth quarter on a bomb that bounced off his hands. Grant will remember the miss perhaps more than the catch, but when it was all over, he was forgiven! Even much maligned DeVante Parker came away with 4 clutch catches for 40 yards.

All the offensive talk was overshadowed by the aggressive defense that kept Tom Brady running for his life all night. Six hits planted him on his backside along with two sacks. Miami’s Boy named Suh did exactly what he said he would do and pissed
off Brady with a hard sack. As Gase is fond of saying, “Brady could feel Suh” the whole night. The numbers do not reflect the impact Suh and Wake had on Tom Brady and the New England offense, but Brady will remember.

Missing the Gronk, his favorite target, Brady threw some uncharacteristic interceptions to Miami’s new ball hawk, Xavien Howard. Howard had two interceptions while covering Demaryius Thomas last week and two interceptions while covering Brandin Cooks on Monday night. Amazingly, the Miami defense held the Patriots to an unheard of 0 of 11 on third downs. It has been 423 games since 1991 that New England was held without and 3rd down conversion! Astounding defense…

It was a night of redemption for Matt Burke, he called blitzes and stunts from multiple angles, after Miami had shown New England nothing two weeks ago. His defensive backs were able to play tighter coverage mixing zones with man to confound Brady. Assigning Xavien Howard to man-cover Brandin Cooks resulted in two classic picks. Wake, Godchaux, Phillips, McDonald, and Jones, all came from everywhere keeping Brady antsy and guessing. Tom Terrific threw more passes in the dirt than Cutler would have on a bad Smoking Jay evening.

The pressure from the Miami front four came from the middle as Jordan Phillips and the Boy named Suh got to Brady for sacks. Brady was hopping around in the collapsing pocket looking very uncomfortable. Playing with a lead definitely suits the talent of the Miami defense and it shined. The wide nine, easily gashed with a persistent running attack when Miami plays from behind is a monster when this defense plays with a lead.

A season that seemed long gone two weeks ago is somehow back to a sense of relevance. The talk of playing for draft status rings as hollow as the selection of Dion Jordan with the 3rd pick. There is no value in drafting high if a team does not believe it can win. Aside from the quarterback, winning in the NFL is not so much about talent as it is about heart and precision. When a team is smart and plays with passion, there is always a chance for victory. Neither star of this game, Drake or Howard was selected in the 1st round.

If one game can make a season for Miami Dolphin fans, this was that game. Adam Gase finally outsmarted Bill Belichick and the future now looks much brighter in Miami.

Miami Dolphins vs Patriots Week 14 Game Chat

Week 14 is here. Find a stream of the game here.

Miami Dolphins Finally Play with a Lead

Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I...

Dolphin fans must be feeling like a Pink Floyd song… The last time Miami scored more points was over two seasons ago. It’s been 41 games, since Miami won by a larger margin. In 2016, Miami won all those close games that statistically must average out and to expect a repeat in 2017 was probably naive. This season’s previous four victories were by margins of two, six, three and three points. The formula is unsustainable and in hindsight, the five game losing crash was probably predictable.

Perhaps it was Vance Joseph or John Elway, all smug up in his box after yucking it up with Dan Marino before the game, “nanny, nanny poo poo, I won two Super Bowls after blowing it three times!” The mighty have fallen. It’s hard to say Jay Cutler is better than Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian, but it wouldn’t matter because this game was about the Miami defense.

Earlier this season, Adam Gase was roundly criticized for saying something like, “this defense is designed to play with a lead.” After a Cutler to Thomas touchdown followed closely by a Xavien Howard pick six, Miami finally had that lead.

The defense responded, Howard picked off the first two passes of his NFL career and broke up a league-leading five passes. Siemian was sacked by Andre Branch, Jordan Phillips and Bobby McCain and T.J. McDonald added a third pick.

This game highlighted players like Phillips who along with the sack, had two tackles for loss, two quarterback hits and deflected a pass that Howard intercepted. Playing with a lead in the second half, the Dolphin defense punished Denver, with three sacks, six tackles for loss, an unheard of 12 passes defensed and hit Siemian six times. For the first time in the franchise’s 52 year history, Miami had two safeties in the same game. The absence of names like Wake and Suh are what make this game unusual.

Denver has now lost eight consecutive games, but maybe there is something to this playing with a lead thing. It ignited Kenyan Drake who set career highs in yards (120) and carries (23). Drake included 42-yard touchdown run all against the fourth ranked run defense in the NFL. There was the usual interception thrown near DeVante Parker, but Kenny Stills busted Denver open with 98 receiving yards, including a touchdown.

Special Teams did not score, but Terrence Fede blocked a punt. After the safeties, Denver was forced to kickoff (punt) from the 25 and Miami enjoyed excellent field position the entire game. Trying and converting an onside kick while up 24 points was a like jabbing a needle into the side of Elway and Joseph. Clearly Adam Gase showed a side Miami fans are not accustomed to, playing with a lead…

An onside kick leading by 24 points could be construed as piling on, but Miami rarely has the cut-throat mentality needed to make a statement in the NFL. The trophy-for-everyone, anthem kneeling millennials will be aghast, while long suffering Miami fans can finally smile at the Belichickian move.

“Designed to play with a lead.” It is a rather presumptuous statement to believe you will be leading prior to actually leading anything. It’s a vague answer to the question, “what is your identity?” Knowing the identity and achieving that identity are two distinctly different things. The game showed that aside from some linebacker issues, this Miami defense can indeed play well with a lead.

The real change in the offense seemed to be a split from the predictable first down “A” gap running plays to a more spread, short passing outside the tackles running game. The talk of taking advantage of a player’s skill was evident in not forcing Kenyan Drake between the tackles on early downs. When Drake did venture inside, it was when the defense was expecting pass or outside runs. The 42-yard burst came on a counter between the tackles. This offense was much better coordinated than any previous game this season.

The onsides kick was a product of the frustration Adam Gase undoubtedly felt coming into this game. It’s hard to conceive Gase was unhappy with Joseph for taking the Denver job, but Joseph does seem in over his head as a first year head coach.

Miami comes into a rematch with New England in a much better place mentally. Belichick saw how Miami played with a lead and he’ll be working on playing outside-in on defense. It is hard for Miami fans not to peak at the end of the season now that the playoffs are all but a dream, but losing is just losing. With a glimpse of what it’s actually like to play with a lead, let next season stay in the future and win now.

The Denver Broncos game showed there is an identity. It lies in an offense that scores points early and often. Couple that with a defense that becomes relentless once an opponent realizes it will have to throw the football. We know now where Adam Gase wants to go, he’s designed this thing to play with a lead. It’s up to the Miami Dolphins to go and get it.

Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I...

Miami Dolphins vs Broncos Week 13 Game Chat

Week 13 against Denver. Click here to find a link to watch the game.

Miami Dolphins' Future is Now

Where do the Miami Dolphins go from here? Is it a question of talent or heart? Forget about coaches, the coaching carousel has changed enough times to be certain the problem is in the Miami locker room. Questioning players always leads back to one position, the quarterback.

Throw a few names at the wall to begin analyzing these players. DeVante Parker for instance, he has all but disappeared when he was proclaimed to be some kind of freak in the off-season. He is a first round pick and obviously a mistake. It doesn't really even matter whether he performs well the rest of the season; the season is over for all intents and purposes.

Next season will be his fourth and when a first round pick takes four years to make an impact well, it's a mistake. Two interceptions happened Sunday against the Patriots on passes intended for Parker. The effort shown to avoid those picks and make a play was abysmal. The quarterback will get the stat, but it was on Parker to make a play and he did not, even in the endzone. Just say it... Bust.

Ryan Tannehill, okay, we're not supposed to talk about him because he's injured. He's a first round pick. He's 37 and 40 in 77 starts. The only winning season since he's been in Miami was one he couldn't complete. Whether it's fair or not to pass judgment is irrelevant, it will be his seventh season and there's virtually nothing to show for it. The fact is, six seasons and the first round pick has done nothing special...

Mike Pouncey, a first round center. He's supposed to be really good, but the Miami offensive line has never been dominant with Pouncey. We're not supposed to talk about him either because he's always injured and the coaches proclaim him to be great. Well he's not. He's at least playing this year, which has to add some value. The thing is, his future is uncertain, at best, and this article is about the future...

JaWuan James is not too bad for a right tackle. Here's the thing, when intentionally drafting a right tackle in the first round, the player should be dominant. It may not be easy, but right tackles can be found in other rounds. James is injured, James was injured last season. He's not a bad player, but as a first round pick, he's a right tackle and he's not exceptional...

Laremy Tunsil and Charles Harris, as recent first round picks, these guys are a little too fresh to throw completely into the fire. Tunsil is not playing like a dominating left tackle. Harris has flashed a little as a rookie, but it would have been nice to have a real monster show up in Miami, he didn't. The dominant tag cannot be placed on either of these players yet and the word bust would be premature, but the signs all point to nothing special...

Maxwell and Alonso, the big trade a couple years ago from Philly for our eighth pick and their thirteenth. Maxwell is gone. Alonso is marginal against the run and cannot cover anybody, meanwhile Tunsil is in question. Looking at the two teams from a personnel decision-making point of view, Philadelphia is rising like a rocket and Miami is plummeting like the Skylab.

Philly knew one thing, the NFL is completely predicated on quarterback play. There is no other barometer that comes close to determining how good an NFL team will be year in and year out than the player at that one position.

Philadelphia had traded for Sam Bradford and knew he was not the answer. They then gave up four draft picks including a first rounder to swap the first round pick they acquired from Miami to trade with Cleveland for the 2nd pick in the draft. They did this because they knew, without a great QB it didn't matter. They could draft a Parker, or a Pouncey, or a James, or a Tunsil, or a Harris, just keep naming them, and it wouldn't matter.

They had to draft a quarterback because Bradford was not the answer...

Like Ryan Tannehill, he was never going to be a great quarterback...

They knew, a team in the NFL without a great QB, really doesn't matter in the long run.

Miami can have fifty coaches, Miami can have fifty directors of personnel and fifty tackles and centers and wide receivers, it just doesn't matter. Teams will not win consistently in the NFL without a great QB. There is no other quantifiable way for a team to be great over the course of many seasons. A team can win now and then without a great QB, but never consistently.

The argument against this premise is myopic and really just plain denial.

Don Shula knew this emphatically, he drafted Dan Marino the year after going to the Super Bowl with David Woodley. Unfortunately, Miami never won the Super Bowl with Marino, but they certainly were in the hunt every year. They certainly were more exciting to watch than anything in Miami since. They always had a chance because of one player.

So what's the point of this article?

Miami must not sit back and think that losing Ryan Tannehill was the reason for this lost season.

Tannehill has never been great, never in six seasons. Carson Wentz, year two we see greatness, Jared Goff, year two we see potential. We knew it right away with Marino, Brady was leading his team the the Super Bowl by his second season. This is not rocket science. Even Drew Brees is no longer a viable excuse for thinking Tannehill will change his spots.

It is not about liking or not liking Tannehill, he's a nice guy and seems like he could be something, but that's the trap. Projecting after a certain number of seasons becomes a fool's game. The NFL is not a place to project a player at thirty years old. Isn't the injury to Tannehill's knee reason enough to understand that every year he becomes more vulnerable and it will only get worse.

Adam Gase has the potential to be a very good NFL coach but he will never attain that in Miami unless he's given the primary tool he needs for success. There's no magic. Belichick - Brady, Shula - Marino, Walsh - Montana, Lombardi - Starr, there's no magic.

Gase desperately needs his own quarterback. Not these inherited quarterbacks. He's confident to a fault and a good general manager and/or personnel director must save him from himself or lose him. Allow him to go out and find the guy he likes and find a way to make it happen. Just like Doug Pederson did in Philly. Pederson played for Shula, remember?

No one can project greatness at the QB position, many have tried and most have failed. If ever there was an imperfect science, this is it, but Gase knows what he wants. Miami knows what it has in Tannehill just like Philly knew what they had in Bradford. The difference is that Philly figured out Bradford was not going to be the guy before spending seven years trying.

Philly did not cut Bradford, but they did extraordinary things to make sure they got a guy they thought could be great. Miami does not need to cut Tannehill. They need to go find their future QB and do extraordinary things to make it happen.

Miami cannot continue to waste first round draft picks on tackles and centers and WRs when none of those players is ever going to make this team great. These players only compliment the one person who can make the Miami Dolphins great again, a quarterback.

This blog is a perfect example of what is happening in Miami. Here I sit writing these little soliloquies to myself because no one is listening or caring any longer.

The only way Miami can win back fans is by going out and finding a great quarterback for Coach Adam Gase. The tackles will suddenly look better, the center will suddenly be great again, the wide receiver will play like he wants to make a catch because they don't want to let that guy down.

It doesn't matter if Miami wins another game this season, it means nothing and therefore it is not worth the NFL's price of a middling draft pick. Yes, I'm saying Miami should lose every game the rest of this reason and set itself up to do the right thing.

Draft Adam Gase a quarterback, or lose him to a team that will when you fire him for not being able to make Tannehill into something he has never been.

It's time Miami... Go and get the player this city has been begging for since Dan Marino retired.

Then maybe, I can stop writing to myself...

Miami Dolphins at Patriots Week 12 Game Chat

Can Miami get back on track? Click here to find a stream to watch the game online.

A Long Day Ahead for the Miami Dolphins

This Miami Dolphin article could be about horrendous officiating, or repugnant play from Jay Cutler, or a defensive letdown after Matt Moore brought Miami back from the dead, but it’s really about the future. Because “at the end of the day,” no one is really sure what the future is for the Miami Dolphins?

Not to offend the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but they are not a very good football team, yet they made
Miami look bad. So bad, it is hard to envision this team competing against even a mediocre NFL schedule. Let’s do a little rundown of what the future looks like for the Miami Dolphins' offense. We’ll start from the top and work our way down.

Adam Gase… He’s fiery, easy to like, gives off the air of intelligence. He knows all the buzz phrases, “at the end of the day.” Between Gase and Ndamukong Suh we hear so much about the end of the day that it’s no wonder Miami can’t figure out how to start the day or a play for that matter. It seems obvious as the penalties mount, his players don’t get the idea that, “at the end of the day,” all those penalties committed during the day equal a losing football team.

Gase is stubborn to a gaping fault. At the end of the day, the end of last week, the end of the week before, even a casual fan can see, starting a day with Jay Cutler is a losing proposition. Not Adam Gase, he’s the quarterback whisperer, he can make a 12 year losing QB into something he’s never been, a winner. Sorry Adam, climb down from the Whisperer Platform or “at the end of the day,” you’ll be joining the Jay Cutler Fired Coaches Association.

There are other issues creeping through the new-coach beer goggles, but we’ll stay at the QB position because, “at the end of the day,” the NFL game is really about having a great QB… Or not. Miami is definitely on the NOT side. Cutler clearly is a NOT, but Adam Gase believes the players around him are more at fault for his pathetic play than Cutler himself. This is an issue for a coach who will trade his best running back for disagreeing with him. Because, “at the end of the day,” no other player is going to come forward and suggest Jay Cutler sucks for the sake of his own welfare.

“At the end of the day,” Jay Cutler will not be playing in Miami next season. The Miami Dolphins have injured QB Ryan Tannehill ready to make a full recovery. The QB whisperer can surely turn this 7 year mediocre passer into Tom Brady just look at what he’s done with Jay Cutler… NOT! There’s no magic potion for Tannehill, there’s no epiphany that can change a man from what he is, into what you’d like him to be.

“At the end of the day,” Miami does not have a great QB on this roster, not injured, not Doughty, not Moore. There is none, but there’s some new-coach beer goggles that disagrees and this is a huge problem. It means there’s no future hope, “at the end of the day,” all Miami fans can have to look forward to is, more mediocre football. Tannehill is not the answer and if Miami does not address this in the next draft, this article will show up again about the same time next year.

Now let’s be realistic about this offensive line, it’s sucked about as long as it’s leader, Mike Pouncey has been at center. “At the end of the day,” we have to take a long look at why all those first down runs up the middle get stuffed, time after time, after time. If Mike Pouncey is your proclaimed best offensive lineman than obviously something is really wrong here. Every other position on the line has been like watching a carousel go round and round when perhaps the problem is the one you haven’t fixed.

Coach, us laypeople don’t know how NFL locker rooms work or how the NFL drug testing works, “but at the end of the day,” we’ve been around this block long enough to know what a stoner looks like. In this politically correct world, no one can say what they really think, but we all know what it looks like. When there’s a coach sending videos of himself sniffing white stuff and there are players with glassy eyes and stupid grins, we know what it looks like.

When an offensive line jumps off-sides time, after time, after time… We know what it looks like.

Aside from DeVante Parker being perpetually injured, the wide receivers are solid. The running backs are dependent largely on the offensive line play and are easy to acquire so there’s no issue at those positions, but tight end? It seems as though the position has been an afterthought and will probably continue to be so for the foreseeable future. “At the end of the day,” Miami has too many other issues to address the tight end any time soon.

“At the end of the day,” how about the kind people on this blog discussing these offensive thoughts before delving into the other side of the ball. The unspoken issue in Miami is a coach who has strapped his immediate future to a losing QB and has placed his team’s long-term future in the hands of mediocrity. “At the end of the day,” as long as the quarterback and center positions remain the same, so will the fortunes of the Miami Dolphins.

It’s looking like a long, long day ahead…

Miami Dolphins vs Bucs Week 11 Game Chat

Can Miami turn it around? Click here to find an online stream of the game.

Miami Dolphins Need a Minute to Assess Roster

I'm going to disagree with some fans (Polly) for a minute about trashing the coaching staff...

There's an identity issue with these Dolphins and it goes back to the constant churn of coaches, styles and philosophies. The identity rears it's ugly head when players from former regimes don't match the system and/or style of the present staff.

It's not an easy situation to solve because there are not very many personnel changes a team can make from one season to the next. The draft is a very imperfect science. Only about 20% of all draft picks become consistent starters and only about 50% actually make or remain on the team that drafted them after a couple seasons.

Players are still just people and we all know that individually we respond to different types of motivation. Some players require a disciplined approach, while others are very self motivated. Some players are built to play power football while others are better at motion and deception. Tony Sparano wanted a power football team and he wanted players in that mold. Philbin was passive and no one was sure what he wanted. Gase is demanding and wants attention to detail.

These are all different types of personalities that don't necessarily mesh well together and form an identity. Hence, we see the problem with these Dolphins. There is a mismatch of talent, it doesn't mean the team is lacking talent, it means the team is lacking chemistry between the different talents. If an offensive lineman (James - Pouncey) is a talented pass blocker and he is asked to anchor a power running game (Ajayi) we start to see what is happening in Miami.

And this issue is all over the Dolphins... Timmons and Maulaluga are good run stuffers but no longer good cover guys. I'm beginning to wonder what skills Kiko Alonso is good at, but coverage is not one of them. When you have a defensive scheme that only employs three linebackers, they must be able to cover because DL cannot reasonably be expected to help in coverage.

Miami began the season having fixed last year's inability to stop the run by adding run stuffing LBs. But these other coaches are smart and they saw that, while Miami could stop the run, the LBs could not cover short passes over the middle of the defense and in the flats. Once it was exposed, Miami reacted by dropping the run stuffing LBs deeper in coverage, thus opening the running lanes.

Again, it's not necessarily the coaching staff. It is more about the talent not matching the scheme. We heard these coaches say, we will use the strengths of the players. That's great, except the other team is going to exploit the weaknesses of your players. In the case of our LBs, none of them can cover. There's no strength to coach but there's a definite weakness to exploit.

On the surface trading a player like Ajayi looks like a poor decision, but using him forces the team further away from where they would like to get schematically.

We, as fans and media, have to be able to accept and understand that it is going to take up to five years to morph this roster into a group that can have sustainable success. I know we've been through this issue with multiple staffs, but there's going to have to come a time when we stop the coaching churn and begin churning out the players that do not fit.

I'm not necessarily saying this is just about athletic or schematic fit, it can also be an attitude or personality fit as well. Ajayi obviously has talent and any good coach can work with talent, even if it doesn't quite fit, but when the fit is wrong and the attitude is wrong, I think the correct answer is to move on.

I'm going to stand behind coach Gase for a minute...

It's going to be a long seven weeks, but there has to be a time when we get behind a coach that we think can get this done given the time and players.

Okay coach, you have your minute with this fan... Make it happen!

The Miami Dolphin Psyche in Trouble

The Miami Dolphins were trashed again in front of a national audience in a game that highlighted the team’s fragile psyche. Emotion and passion can disguise many warts, but as the season wears on, holes in the Dolphin roster open like the running lanes in Carolina on Monday night. Down 10-7 with 47 seconds left in the half, Jay Cutler fluttered an ill-advised pass toward Julius Thomas that was intercepted by wonder boy Luke Kuechly. The play led to a humiliating Carolina touchdown, exposing the difference between Miami and teams that will be playing in January.

The only word that can accurately describe the Miami Dolphin linebackers is, horrendous. The film on Kiko Alonso must be brutal to watch. His coverage deficiencies are so glaring, team’s relish getting to third down to exploit it. Rookie Christian McCaffrey left Alonso searching for his jockstrap twice, including a touchdown run. Timmons was out of position the entire night, caught in traps, over pursuing and missing tackles. Not to mention, he can’t cover anybody. The only sighting of Rey Maualuga came as a lead blocker on offense, and he can’t cover anybody.

The Miami defensive line will be called out for lacking pressure, but this hideous defense is not on the line or the secondary. The entire night was spent trying to figure out how to protect the middle of the field. A territory where linebackers should roam, but in Miami, they’re missing tackles, trailing receivers or getting caught out of position. After three quarters, the Panthers were 9-for-14 on third downs, throwing dinky passes to wide open receivers with linebackers trailing two yards behind.

The Cutler interception seemed to open the flood gates in a very fragile Miami psyche. Following the half, Carolina pranced for four consecutive touchdowns on the first four drives. Cam Newton humiliated the Miami defense and coordinator Matt Burke with antics that disgust opposing fans, but presumably excite the home crowd. The Dolphin defense was gashed for 214 rushing yards after three quarters for a whopping of 8.6 yard average! While desperately attempting to hide coverage deficiencies, Miami forgot about the running game.

On offense, Jay Cutler had that jittery look. He could not settle his feet and his throws sailed off target or were rushed when there really wasn’t a rush. On one third down play Cutler flushed from the pocket, had a clear path to run for the first down but chose to throw to a wide open Jarvis Landry. The pass was so poorly thrown it landed nowhere in the vicinity of Landry and was nearly intercepted.

Julius Thomas is nothing like the tight end who played for the Denver Broncos, those days are long gone. His plodding routes down the field are like watching paint dry. Cutler actually threw a nice pass down the sideline that a receiver with any form of body control could have caught for a long gain. Thomas could not get his body around and stumbled out of bounds, looking tired and old.

The Miami running game is a curious thing to watch, if it’s first down, Miami runs up the middle. First down, Miami runs up the middle. First down, Miami runs up the middle. It seemed Miami kept the backs in most other downs to protect Cutler after losing right tackle Ja’Wuan James to a season ending hamstring injury. The short passes to the backs were taken away by Luke Kuechly who showed the Dolphin brass how a great middle linebacker can make a defense. Cutler was in “Smoking Jay” form and the passing offense was anemic. With a nonexistent running game, the contest quickly turned into a 45-21 blowout that was not close in the 2nd half.

This was a season defining game for the Miami Dolphins. If Miami was going to make a run, it was going to start against Carolina and clearly this Miami team is not complete. It is hard to fathom the season being over with seven games remaining, but the holes at linebacker will not allow Miami to compete for a playoff spot in the NFL. Even getting there would be an exercise in futility as this team is not ready for prime time.

The big picture problem for Miami is difficult to manage. No team in the NFL can rightfully expect to compete for a title with all the adversity the team has suffered through this season. At the same time, humiliating defeats injure that delicate psyche, many times beyond repair.

It was once said, “winning begets winning, begets winning, but there’s a dark side… Losing begets losing, begets losing. Miami is a flawed team, extremely weak at the linebacker position, jittery at QB, perpetually injured on the offensive line and without a decent tight end.

The coaching staff, the fans and the
players remaining when this torturous season is over must somehow keep the faith. Do not lose the winning attitude and passion that brought the Dolphins this far on such a shaky platform. Look forward to fixing the platform, not losing the passion.

Losing grabs ahold and tries to pull that fragile psyche down the black hole of defeat.

Hang in there Miami…