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In this case the Parcells cliche fits: "You are what your record says you are"

Discussion in 'Miami Dolphins Forum' started by Da 'Fins, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. Da 'Fins

    Da 'Fins Season Ticket Holder Staff Member Club Member

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    The Dolphins are 6-5 and still in the hunt for the playoffs. But, they are ostensibly three games behind in the playoff race (The Steelers & Ravens have 8-3 records with a tie-breaker advantage over Miami). Picking up three games to get into the playoffs with five to play is going to be quite a challenge. They almost have to win all five games and even then hope for a significant collapse. The only way this three game advantage is reduced to two is if there are multiple teams tied and the tie breaker goes deeper than head-to-head. But, even then, the Dolphins are presently at a disadvantage with a 4-4 conference record (versus 6-2 records by the Ravens and Steelers). Although loses and wins over the last few weeks could change that. Nevertheless, Miami's only hope is to basically run the table which means victories at both New England and the Jets. A tough road for sure.

    That said, aside from essentially a stolen game by the Steelers against Miami (wouldn't it be a sad irony if the playoffs came down to a tie between the Steelers and Miami? Quite frustrating), the Dolphins at 6-5 and just out of the playoffs are pretty much where they belong. They are a mediocre team with some ability to compete, but are full of serious flaws. Injuries have certainly contributed to this to some degree.

    Nevertheless, the Dolphins are starting to define "middle of the pack"; it is where they are right now and it is an identity that has been all too commonplace since the 90's. There is no doubt they could have a run like the Giants did a couple of years ago (hope springs eternal as long as they are not mathematically eliminated! ;)

    But, the reality is, personnel-wise and coaching wise, though I put more of the blame on the personnel side, the team just hasn't produced the players it needs.

    When we examine teams that have maintained or continued to produced quality players there are two factors: they "hit" on big playmakers, but they also "hit" on sleepers who get the job done as role players.

    As much as we all clamor for playmakers at TE or RB or even another WR (some even at QB though that remains TBD at this point), it is equally problematic in personnel moves with mid-level acquisitions.

    The O-line has remained mediocre and the team has been unable to develop a line along the lines of, say, the Chargers, which just dominated the Colts last night. That's just a single example but the point is by this time - three years into the new regime with a head coach and president who came in with a reputation for having a physical offensive line, they continue to have a merry-go-round at the OL interior.

    One way or another, this team is what it's record says it is. It is the epitome of the the NFL's parity goals. Which is not great for Miami fans hoping for a return to glory days. It's good for expansion teams that don't have a great tradition. But not for Miami.

    Particularly in light of the potential lockout, I'm for giving the present GM/Coach another season (barring a 5 game losing streak the rest of the year) even if they don't make the playoffs. But, if it is a 9-7 record again next year (or worse) and similar inconsistency and lack of the ability to dominate - then that's it.

    They have to hit on some players, however. Unfortunately, the Dolphins will have a depleted draft without a 2nd round pick (unless they pull a trade down again - which hurts in landing a big playmaker); while the rival Patriots once again have accumulated multiple first round picks (as an aside, as much as even some of our gurus have criticized them for failing to draft well with all those selections, they are 9-2 right now - tied for the best record in the league and they are likely to accumulate even more talent this next year) ... the rich get richer.

    It's not all doom and gloom, but the QB position has to step up and become elite; and they cannot afford any more free agent gaffes - there can be no more Justin Smileys or Jake Grove signing mistakes (though talented and effective when healthy, imo - their inability to hold up physically was a huge flaw that simply cannot happen again). If there is a Steve Hutchinson, I'm all for breaking the bank there. Otherwise, they cannot make such mistakes. The margin for error has narrowed dramatically for the front office however. The pressure is there.
     
  2. firedan

    firedan Well-Known Member

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    Even if we don't make the playoffs let's win out the rest of the way.
     
  3. MikeHoncho

    MikeHoncho -=| Censored |=- Club Member

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    Well, Oakland was who we thought they were...
     
  4. the 23rd

    the 23rd a.k.a. Rio

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    nice post Friend Da 'Fins
    very strong point of view
     
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  5. padre31

    padre31 Premium Member Luxury Box

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    Well Da'Fins, keep in mind if we beat the Jets, and they lose to the pats this week, we are one game behind them.

    And they travel to Chicago after playing us.
     
    Da 'Fins likes this.
  6. GridIronKing34

    GridIronKing34 Silently Judging You Club Member

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    Yeah, a lot of those teams that are ahead of us play each other and some upper tier teams.
     
  7. Zod

    Zod Ruler of the Universe

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    For some odd reason I was reminded of this scene.

    [video=youtube;JGpajGj07BU]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGpajGj07BU&feature=related[/video]
     
    padre31 likes this.
  8. rafael

    rafael Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    I agree that we are a mid-level team, but I place most of the blame on the game plans and play calling. I see many running plays where the OL has their man engaged and the free defender makes the tackle. This is re-enforced by PFF's ratings of our OL. According to them our OL has done a good job individually. This points to the predictability of our play calling. The defenders know what we are going to do far too often. (This is just one example, but IMO our play calling is too predictable in most areas).

    As for the personnel, I do agree it hasn't been as good as it could have been, but they have hit on enough that I don't consider it the biggest problem.
     
  9. Da 'Fins

    Da 'Fins Season Ticket Holder Staff Member Club Member

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    I agree that the play calling is an issue. But, that too may be, in part, a product of personnel. There is no doubt Henning has some culpability. But, even at that, the team's most dominating victory was this week against Oakland. Before then there wasn't a dominating victory all year. That's a sign of a team that does not really have explosive and dominating personnel - esp. offensively.

    I really have a hard time - regardless of PFF data, which is not fool proof - believing that the interior OL has been great when our rushing offense (including just coming off their best rushing day of the year) is averaging 3.8 ypc, and ranked #23 in the league in avg per carry. And, the "eye test" for me has shown an interior OL that is often stuffed and has not consistently opened holes, imho.
     
    dolfan22 likes this.
  10. maynard

    maynard Who, whom?

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    fact is, you have to get "lucky" with some guys. the bucs are doing so with williams and blount on offense. some characters issues aside. but you cant stack your team with 1st rounders at every position of need. tons of teams have "no namers" that contribute as they mold into the system. in that regard its up to the coaches to make chicken salad, imo. and that means taking chances on guys and living with some mistakes
     
  11. adamprez2003

    adamprez2003 Senior Member

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    yeah i agree. i think pff's analysis of offensive linemen leaves alot to be desired. incognito and berger were getting manhandled at times yesterday and this wasnt new to anyone watching them over the course of the year. berger at least has played well in pass situations. i know its early but i'm on the draft demarcus love bandwagon as of now with our first. d love next to long for 2011 would be a crushing run blocking unit and would allow us to inflict our will on opposing defenses rather than the smoke and mirrors we are forced to use this year to try to scheme our ways to victories.

    and just to add i do believe our personel are effecting our play calling. our philosophy is to basically have a dominating run game and play action off of it. well, when you cant run for 4 yds a carry that makes the first part of that philosophy start with a weight around its ankles. Add to the mix a young QB who still has trouble with zone coverage and now you're running a race with two weights strapped to your body. honestly every coordinator is going to be hard pressed to overcome that so you end up trying to trick the defenses rather than dominate them. not a winning formula but you really have no choice

    the crux of this year's problems on offense IMO fall on the shoulders of Ireland for thinking that Incognito and Berger would fit into our scheme. John Jerry is a rookie who seems to be improving so I'll leave him out of the equation. You can probably get away with having one of them if you replace the other with a run blocking stud but to have those two side by side is an invitation for mediocrity

    Its ok by me however. I dont expect perfection from GMs. Ireland has shown an excellent ability to cut his losses quickly and fix the problems the following year. We were concentrating on defense in 2010. 2011 we need to concentrate on getting our offensive personel bacck to where they need to be
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010
  12. Zod

    Zod Ruler of the Universe

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    With that said this will make perfect sense to you. I am a football bookworm of sorts and the following is a passage from one of my books.

    Two Deep Zone

    Whenever it chooses, an offense can protect its quarterback! Recognizing this offensive intention, the defensive coordinator's most prudent response is to implement saturation zone coverage, for eight offensive blockers can stymie the first level's pass rush, and without pressure most quarterbacks will dissect any man-to-man pass defense.


    ..........and that's when the offense must have the ability to run. Without the ability to run, the quarterback must then dissect the two deep. One way or another, the burden is on the offense to get the job done.

    Chad Henne hasn't done it versus two deep.

    Our running game hasn't done it versus two deep.

    THAT is our problem.

    When those two things change, Dan Henning is a freaking genius!
     
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  13. Southbeach

    Southbeach Banned

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    Not so. PFF has McQuisten as our best G at 0.5, Incognito is negative -0.5, and Jerry is negative -7.4. That's been our problem.
     
  14. Southbeach

    Southbeach Banned

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    Well done, and a VG read. I disagree a bit. All things considered, youth, injuries, etc, I would rate our talent as above average. We're not where we want to be but, IMO closer than the rest of the middle of the pack.
     
  15. gilv13

    gilv13 Well-Known Member

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    good post.
     
  16. gunn34

    gunn34 I miss Don & Dan

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    We need playmakers in the worst way.

    EDIT: IMO, the reason the pats always have so many draft picks is because they believe in getting something for their players at the right time. They don't get too emotionally involved in players. They are just pieces of a puzzle. If we had the same philosophy, we would have received a couple of picks for Ronnie Brown this season before the trade deadline ended. Green Bay was desperate for a RB. We could have worked something out. I love Ronnie, but would have taken a 2nd or 3rd round pick for him. Maybe even a 4th.
     
  17. rafael

    rafael Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    I don't have a PFF subscription, but before the Oakland game, per CK, PFF had us ranked as the #4 run blocking unit. I don't think we've had great guard play, but I think that the bigger problem by far is that we haven't stuck with the run. RB and RW are two players who have, throughout their careers, improved with more carries. We also have a QB who was entering his first full year as a starter. It would have been wiser to stick with the running game longer regardless of what it was producing and protecting our QB more. That's something the Jets handled better than we did. Early in the season they were running a ton. That gave Sanchez a crutch. Sure, Sanchez had some luck with dropped INTs, but the point is that it made his job easier and allowed him to get some big plays for them.

    I also felt the kinds of runs and the timing of our runs were too predictable. I know that far too often I sit on my couch and predict the play based on the formation and personnel. I'm sure that's the case with many fans here. How much easier must it be for a DC or a defensive player who gets a week to watch coaches tape and has a printout of what our tendencies are out of each formation?
     
  18. mroz

    mroz Fix the OL Club Member

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    I don't care what PFF sys... Our OL has been horrible this year with regards to run blocking... HORRIBLE!
     
  19. mroz

    mroz Fix the OL Club Member

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    I dont think anyone was going to give us a 2nd or 3rd round pick for RB. Not the way he is playing. Granted the OL isn't really helping things much....
     
  20. rafael

    rafael Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    I think there's some evidence that points to our run blocking looking poor b/c the defense knew what we were doing and simply filled the holes. For example, if you call a predictable running play and every lineman blocks his guy but the defense rushes a defender into that hole and stuffs the play, it will look like poor run blocking but is actually poor play calling.
     
  21. adamprez2003

    adamprez2003 Senior Member

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    anyone can guess whether a team is running or passing based on formation and situation and be correct 80% plus of the time even if you're seeing the team for the first time and have no game film on them. The trick is to know where the run is going. I challenge anyone to predict the calls in real time on the gameday thread to predict not just whether we are running or passing but where we are running or passing. I doubt anyone on these boards will have a success rate of greater than 25%
     
  22. adamprez2003

    adamprez2003 Senior Member

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    The Jets also have a better run blocking offensive line this year so it allows them to stick with the run.
     
  23. rafael

    rafael Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    I disagree. I never just say run or pass. When I say I predict plays I am always referring to something like "run left" or "Bess on jerk pattern". I don't try to do it every play (that would be annoying) but there are many formations and personnel groupings that when coupled with the situation make it obvious. It has to be much easier if your charting the plays based on coaches tape. Finnegan claimed that he was guessing Marshall's pattern "about 80%" of the time. I don't know what his actual % was, obviously, but it was often enough that it frustrated Marshall. The Pats players claimed that they knew where we were running just based on the personnel package and formation.
     
  24. rafael

    rafael Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    I also think they made more of a commitment to the run. Unless you're just a great passing team, you usually have to run a certain amount of the time just to keep the D honest. This year there were several games where we didn't run enough. And if we had run more, we would have had more of those successful runs later on so everybody would think we were a better run team.
     
  25. adamprez2003

    adamprez2003 Senior Member

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    well i have a hard time believing that. tell you what. if you ever have some free time on a sunday, go to the game day thread and try to predict the plays for just one half. i would be interested in seeing someone beat 25%. maybe you can do it. on run plays just predict up the middle, run right inside tackle, run right off tackle, run right sweep wide, run left inside tackle, run left off tackle, run left sweep wide and then also which back gets the run. on pass plays just pick the receiver, back or tight end who will be the first option. you dont even have to bother with calling the route, just whether its short, intermediate or deep. i'll join you in trying to predict the plays. it will be interesting to see how we do. just let me know what game you want to try. i suspect its alot harder to do then people think it is
     
  26. adamprez2003

    adamprez2003 Senior Member

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    they did. i think we abandoned the run when our coaching staff felt they couldnt rely on it. i think anytime this teams falls behind by two scores or more we will continue to abandon it in favor of the pass. i think we ran against the raiders because the score dictated we could
     
  27. Jaj

    Jaj Registered

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    Based on what Carolina did to Cleveland last week they better run the ball again and again to keep Hillis out of the game. I'm convinced Miami's run game will have somewhat of a revival up until that match-up with New England in week 17.
     
  28. rafael

    rafael Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    I entertain for Dolphin games. Several people come over and watch the game. Due to the cooking and conversation, I can't recall the last time I watched a Dolphin game in real time. I'm usually about a half hour behind. That's why I've never been in a game day thread. I also doubt I could type fast enough to get a prediction out in the three seconds or so before the snap when you can see what formation they've motioned or shifted into and you have seen what personnel is in. (Its easier on the field since you're closer and all you have to do is react or yell the play out rather than type). No promises, but I might be able to track my prediction success as I watch a game, then you could decide if you want to believe me or not. Either way, my predictive ability is not really the issue. The issue is that we have had at least three opponents say we're predictable and a couple of analysts on different stations show that our route combinations have been limited. I guess we could all be lying.
     
  29. adamprez2003

    adamprez2003 Senior Member

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    perfectly understood. well try it on your own then. i dont doubt you believe it, i just think most people think they are better at it then they really are. and no, i dont take finnegan's word. bmarsh almost laughed out loud when he heard a reporter repeat it to him
     
  30. rafael

    rafael Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Its not just Finnegan though. Many people have been saying it. Ignoring everybody or pretending they're all lying just sounds like denial. And if you look at the history, it makes sense. Parcells has always preached running few plays and running them perfectly. Its the same thing Lombardi taught. We still do that now. Sparano just mentioned in his post game press conference that they only ran 5 or 6 different run plays. Henning tends to run those out of set formations. If out of a given formation there are only two or three likely run plays, how hard is it to predict the play? The down and distance is a good predictor of whether the play will be a run or pass. On first downs it is about a toss up, but other than screens or draws, the formation generally keys whether its a run or a pass. And if all you're picking is run and a side its even easier b/c when Henning uses motion he almost always motions the extra blocker to the run side.

    Now not all Parcels guys follow that. Sean Peyton is famous for running the same play out of multiple formations. He's still following the basic mantra of run a few plays and run them really well, but he's adapted to eliminate the predictability. Another great example which KB mentioned in another thread is Belichek, who has adapted Parcells' philosophy in a similar manner.

    Now in pass plays its more difficult since we don't usually get to see the routes. But there are keys. Whenever Henning uses a stacked set, the back receiver is almost always the primary read. And I've never seen that receiver go deep. Every time I see it, he runs some form of a crossing route. That's just one example, but the point is that if I'm seeing these tendencies while watching in my living room and talking with friends, how much easier is it for somebody studying coaching tape to find the tendencies?
     
  31. Zod

    Zod Ruler of the Universe

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    rafael, I just spent about 15 minutes typing a post to tell you how wrong you were. I hit the button to post and then had some sort of forum glitch. I'm hating the new forum by the way. I run into one glitch after another and I can't read a damn thing on my phone. I guess the forum just doesn't come up on the cheap stuff. Anyway, I'm not spending another 15 minutes on a post. I'm just going to say -

    YOU ARE WRONG!
     

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