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Title:FinHeaven Your Home for: Miami Dolphins, Miami Dolphins Forums, Miami Dolphins News - Frontpage News
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Miami Dolphins : News RSS
Three Observations From The Loss To The Jets
2014 Opponents And Locations Now Set For Miami
Dolphins-Jets Postgame Notes
Dolphins Season Comes To An End With Loss To Jets
Bokamper, McDuffie, Morris And Sims Inducted Into Walk Of Fame
PREGAME NOTES: Thomas Toughing It Out For Season Finale; Other Notes
Five Keys To The Jets Game
INFOGRAPHIC: 2014 Dolphins Pro Bowl Selections
Fields, Grimes, Pouncey And Wake Make The Pro Bowl
Dolphins-Jets Injury Update
NOTEBOOK: Tannehill #8217;s Toughness An Admirable Trait; Other Notes
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Regular Season Finales
Dolphins-Jets Thursday Injury Update
Receiving Duo Of Hartline And Wallace Approaching Milestone
NOTEBOOK: Wallace Wins Media Good Guy Award; Other Notes
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Hayden Fox's Assessment Week 17
Hayden Fox
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Published on 12-30-2013 12:57 AM
Number of Views: 109
* 89 yard TD drive that finished with a Ryan Tannehill TD pass to Mike Wallace. On the TD pass, Tannehill got everyone on the same page and threw, with great anticipation, to Mike Wallace. The throw had nice touch as well. The drive mixed things up well, including moving the pocket.
* Lamar Miller. He had 73 yards on 17 carries. He ran hard and seemed to get better with the more carries he got.
* Pass protection. After a bad week versus the Bills, they gave up no sacks and RT had time to throw.
* 3rd down offense and defense were not great, but not awful...6 of 13 for the offense and 6 of 15 for the defense.
* Koa Misi had a TFL on a 3rd and short play in the 1st half. He read the play well and got the tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
* Brent Grimes was excellent today in coverage.
* Lost Turnover Differential 3 to 0.
* Ryan Tannehill turned in a clunker in a big spot. He was 20 of 40, 1 TD and 3 INT's. He was very inaccurate early in the game. While some of the picks were not awful decisions, the team needed more from their QB and he did not deliver. He missed a wide open Mike Wallace by overthrowing him down the sideline. If completed, Wallace would have gone for six. On a 3rd and long, Tannehill scrambled up the middle, but he went into the baseball slide and was marked just short. The 4th down play was stopped short a play later. RT needed to know where he was on the field and pick up the yards needed.
* RT threw a pretty ball to Mike Wallace in the corner of the end zone. While he seemed to be interfered with, Wallace simply should have made the catch. A crucial miss in a tight game.
* Rishard Matthews had a big drop.
* Mike Pouncey penalties
* The defense was terrible against the run. They gave up 154 yards.
* The pass rush was nonexistent for the second straight week.
* Dannell Ellerbe missed tackle at the end of the half as Geno Smith scored on a QB draw.
* Phillip Wheeler in coverage.
* Off his first Pro Bowl selection, Brandon Fields was terrible today. His first punt was a shank and netted only a few yards. He had 3 touchbacks.
* Brian Hartline's knee injury was a major shake up for the football team. He was very important to the offense.
* The team did not finish the half. They allowed the Jets to score a TD with seconds left.
* Upon a Nick Folk miss, the Dolphins had some momentum and could not do anything with their next possession.
* The offensive play calling was not very good for the most part. Some plays stand out more than others. The 4th and 1 in the 3rd quarter around midfield is one. A handoff to the Charles Clay had nowhere to go. With about a foot to go, perhaps a QB sneak was in order or something to the outside. They ran inside and got stopped short. The Mike Wallace screen on 3rd down in the 2nd half was completed well before the sticks. It was of awful design and had no chance of succeeding.
* Kevin Coyle was terrible today. His calls were off and never created anything that got momentum going for his side of the ball. The game plan itself was questionable. The defense did not solve their run stuffing issues. They lost contain on Smith all game. They did not sniff the QB with their pass rush. At some point, Coyle should have tried to manufacture a pass rush, but he never did. Bad day for Coyle.
* While we talked about the infamous 4th and 1 call and what led up to it, the game was still a one score game at the time. It was a desperation call on Joe Philbin's part to go for it. The right call was to punt it and pin the Jets offense back. Perhaps under duress, the Jets would turn it over. All the call did was give more confidence to the front-running Jets.
* In a game where energy, emotion and guts would be necessary, the Dolphins seemed to lack any of those traits. The team needed to be primed and ready to go for a huge game and they simply were not up to the task.
Overall Assessments
* I need to take this spot to mention a few things. First of all, I was accused of being "negative" leading up to this game. I simply pointed out that there were some reasons why I was very concerned that the Jets would win. One was the respective attitudes of each team. The Jets, I felt, were going to play loose, while the Fins were going to be tight. I think that happened Sunday. Between the Jets running Wildcat plays and handing off to Sheldon Richardson for a TD, they were playing very free and easy. The Dolphins on the other hand, seemed tight. RT was off on many throws early, Matthews, Clay and Moore all had drops. The defense seemed a step slow, seemingly not wanting to give up a big play...yet, they never attacked and forced the Jets into bad plays. I also thought that there were tough match ups to consider. While some here did not want to acknowledge it, the fact was the Jets had the advantage on the offensive and defensive lines. Finally, I was concerned because I did not think this was a mentally tough Dolphins team this year. Again, I was killed for that thought. Yet, today, in a situation where the team needed to snatch a playoff spot...where they got all the help they needed throughout the league...they played small. I make these comments not to say "I told you so", but to point out that each week there are concerns versus each opponent. I attempt to point those out and find a solution to them so to have an idea how the Miami Dolphins can win a game.
* What a brutal finish to the year. The Fins needed one of the final two games and they came up very small. The Fins lost their last two games 36-7. 7 points in the last 8 quarters.
* How big was Ed Reed's tackle on Rishard Matthews? His shoestring tackle saved a TD and who knows how the game finishes if Matthews scores.
* The only game the defense did not create a turnover happened to be today's game. Ironically, the Jets had the most turnovers in the NFL...yet the Dolphins could not get one.
* Short yardage situations were such a struggle today as it was all year. The team has little physical presence inside and from its RB's. Not signing a true lead blocker was a huge mistake.
* I am so tired of South Floridians or former Dolphins "coming home" and getting over on the Dolphins.
* Only the Dolphins can take mega Vegas odds in regard to winning a playoff spot and not come through.
* This year, the Dolphins were given so much help across the league. Not just today in terms of getting into the playoffs, but other teams losing at the right time versus the "right" opponent. They also had injuries that benefited them from opponents. Yet, the Dolphins could only muster a .500 record.
* It is exasperating how many flags were throw versus the competition, yet the officials confer and pick up the flag. Why was the flag tossed in the first place?
* This team lacks leadership. It lacks it from the head coach and the best players of the team. The last two weeks was the time for the Dolphins to play their best football, to come out attacking, to be play without regrets. Yet, the team did none of that. They actually played their two worst games of the year in the most vital points of the season. That poor play has to be answered for.
* Changes will be made, but where. The status quo is not going to cut it. However, I will say this: I do not think Joe Philbin will get the ax. Steve Ross likes him and Philbin is "his" guy, his "hire". However, keeping Phlbin and making changes to other parts of the organization can be dangerous. Ross will have to find a GM with prior ties to Joe Philbin or agree with the new GM that Philbin stays on next year. That will easily cut down the talent pool of GM candidates. Secondly, people want Mike Sherman out. I cannot defend Sherman's performance. However, once again, if Joe Philbin stays, he comes back as a lame duck of sorts next season. Going into '14 season, Philbin will easily be one of the coaches on the hot seat. If that is the case, what inspiring O.C. is going to want to come to Miami? Philbin will have his pick of the "second tier". The Dolphins are in a really difficult spot right now.
* What is Joe Philbin's exact strengths exactly? We were led to believe he was a sound offensive mind, but that has not materialized in his first two seasons. He is obviously not a master motivator. He leaves a lot to be desired in terms of his management on game day. Outside of continuity, I am not sure what is so valuable about Joe Philbin returning as the head football coach of the Dolphins.
* What hurts so much about today's loss is you never know when you will have the opportunity to get into the playoffs. There are some emerging teams in the AFC and it will be more competitive next year. The conference was down this year, however. Making the playoffs was there for the taking. I want nothing more than to see our Dolphins be relevant in January. It is daunting to think of climbing that "mountain" again next fall. This season was so emotional in so many ways. Today, was a really tough loss that will stick with the franchise and fans for a long time.
Hayden Fox's Assessment Week 16
Hayden Fox
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Published on 12-24-2013 12:00 PM
Number of Views: 765
* The punt coverage units were excellent today. Starting with Brandon Fields the punt team handled the tough weather and kept the Bills pinned back deep.
* Nolan Carroll's INT
* Nolan Carroll's CB Blitz for a sack of QB Thad Lewis
* Red Zone defense. The Bills were 1-4. At the end of the day, the defense did only give up one TD.
* 3rd down defense. The defense held the Bills to 7 of 19.
* The staff subbing Nate Garner for Sam Brenner. Brenner was getting manhandled. The change needed to happen.
* Charles Clay's effort on an attempted catch (overruled on review) was good to see. He did not give up and played hard to the bitter end.
* Joe Philbin had good clock management at the end of the half. He used his timeouts and the defense forced RB C.J. Spiller out of bounds killing the clock. It forced a punt another offensive try.
* The team was flat. No emotion. Poor body language all game.
* The Dolphins were shutout.
* Minus 1 Turnover Differential
* Total yards: 109 for Miami and 390 for the Buffalo
* TOP: Miami's 23:29 to 36:21 for Buffalo
* No big plays. The Fins need to get explosive plays some place and none of that happened today.
* 3rd down offense: 2-14
* Ryan Tannehill struggled. 10-27, 0 TD's and 0 Int
* 7 Sacks given up. The line was at fault. The RB's blitz pickups were terrible. Daniel Thomas was indecisive along with typically ineffective. The line was abused throughout the game.
* Brian Hartline dropped three passes.
* The run game was ineffective. At the same time, against a bad run defense, they attempted only 12 runs (for 14 yards). This game was still close going well into the 4th quarter. The Fins had some negative runs, but at the same time the coaching staff never gave the run game a chance on day it was needed.
* Lamar Miller was buried on the depth chart. Not sure why. The answer will be his pass pro skills, but DT was lousy in that role today. Miller has had success versus the Bills in his first two years of his young career.
* RT has to keep the ball on the read option. There were plays to be made. Instead of tucking the ball and handed it off for little to no gain too many times.
* Matt Moore had two bad picks. One was well behind the receiver after he connected deep to Hartline. The other he emerged from a scrum and heaved it deep to nobody.
* No points off of the Carroll interception.
* Penalties: 6 penalties for 37 yards.
* Rush defense. They gave up 203 yards on 51 carries.
* The defense had terrible understanding what the Bills wanted to do on offense. They were going run the ball or toss it deep on early downs. If they were off schedule, they would run a screen or draw.
* Phillip Wheeler's hands to the face penalty was a killer. The defense had a stop deep in the Bills' territory and looked like they were going to force a punt. However, Wheeler's undisciplined penalty kept a drive alive for the Bills.
* Nolan Carroll beaten by Robert Woods for 50 plus yards.
* The defense got torched by Buffalo's TE's.
* Philip Wheeler was a liability in coverage.
* Missed opportunities for turnovers. Leodis McKelvin put the ball on the carpet off of a punt, but the Bills recovered. C.J. Spiller fumbled in the 4th, but two Bills jumped on the ball before any Dolphin made a bid on the ball.
* The Dolphins were out-coached in all phases. They had no adjustments to the Bills' blitzing schemes. They had no change of pace ideas to make the Bills blitz looks slow down. Defensively, they needed to own the LOS and force Thad Lewis in known passing did not happen.
* Joe Philbin had a bad challenge on a sideline play, that at best, would have been worth 15 yards. The replay was not conclusive.
* While the Dolphins had too many undisciplined moments, the officiating was bad today. Gilmore should have been flagged for flinging Hartline to the ground after an incompletion. A flag was thrown, but the ref that tossed the flag was talked out of it. Mario Williams was holding Bryant McKinnie yet McKinnie made a bid for the outside blitzer. McKinnie ended up getting the flag for trying to protect his QB. Terrible miss by the refs. Charles Clay caught that ball and it did not hit the ground. There was certainly not any obvious evidence that it did hit the ground. It never should have been overturned. Cam Wake was held on a run in the 4th to set up a Bills clinching FG. The Dolphins did nothing to help themselves in this game and did not lose because of the refs, but they were not aided by them either.
Overall Assessment
* The weather did play a role in hurting the Dolphins today. It was an issue debated all week and those that were concerned with the task of going to Buffalo in December were vindicated.
* Another place of concern was the amount of emotion and energy used in the win versus New England. The Dolphins had no life today and were able to continue the success from previous weeks.
* Bills DC Mike Pettine owned Joe Philbin, Mike Sherman and Ryan Tannehill twice this year.
* How does a 5-9 team without its starting QB, best WR, its second best WR ejected and its starting SS out, beat you 19-0? The answer is the Bills wanted it more. The Bills were also coached better and they had match ups to exploit versus the Dolphins. The Dolphins had no answers how to use their own strengths against the opponent and no ideas to circumvent the strengths of the Bills.
* Specifically, in terms of the pass rush of Buffalo, where were the screens? Where was the maximum protections and shots deep? Where was the quick hot reads in the vacancy of the blitzing slot CB? Where was the bootleg to move the pocket? The coaching staff had no in game answer to something their team was deficient in. Very concerning.
* Why run the read option if the QB never runs the ball? He had chances to make yards today, but RT never kept the ball.
* It was concerning that the Dolphins defense seemed not to know the Bills offensive tendencies.
* What a terrible broadcast. Spero Dedes, Steve Beuerlein and the F crew had an awful day. They got names wrong. The camera crew had the facial shots going of players and coaches while measurements were happening or players were injured. Beuerlein inexplicably said the Fins should allow the Bills to score a TD midway through the 4th to "keep it a two score game" (the TD would have made it 17 to 0). He somehow thought Woods should not have been ejected after throwing a close line punch to Reshad Jones. Dedes said the Bills had a great fan base yet were one of two teams with a blackout this year. Just simply a terrible broadcast.
* The Buffalo Bills got their typical December win in bad weather in which their fans can be happy. Yet they are under .500 again for yet another year.
* Four new offensive linemen are needed next year. Mike Pouncey should stay. However, both tackles should not be re-signed. The team should move on from John Jerry. Sam Brenner can be developed, but he could help best by being a depth player. Nate Garner can again be a "super sub". Two free agent linemen must be added along with two draft picks from May's draft.
* The team most become more physical. In order to win in Buffalo, New York and New England in December, the Dolphins have to be the more physical team up front. They need to "punch the opponent in the mouth". Since Joe Philbin has taken over the run defense has not been as good, falling from the top of the league to the bottom ten. The offensive line has become more "finesse" as well. The "blue collar" approach like that of Seattle, San Francisco and Baltimore should be used as the template of future Dolphins teams.
* Phillip Wheeler is a major liability that needs to be replaced next season. He has not been an upgrade over Kevin Burnett. Jelani Jenkins could be his replacement. It is a matter of when.
* While not popular, going 9-7 this year is progress. I thought the team was a 9-7 or 10-6 team this year. I wanted progress not playoffs necessarily. A win next week is obviously important to the playoff aspirations of the team, but it is also vital to the progress of the team going into next year. Demand progress for this team. Next week will tell us a lot about this team in many ways.
* With all this being said, the Miami Dolphins are still in this. With a Chargers win and Patriots win, EVERYTHING is still in front of the Dolphins. The Chiefs have little to play for next week, helping San Diego. The Ravens will have to play well to beat the Bengals. I do not see Marvin Lewis pulling back as his team needs to play well going into the tournament after getting bounced in the first round the past few years. That leads us to Miami. They have a home game with a rival. They have a bad taste in their mouths from a putrid performance from today. Miami can very well make the playoffs after all is said and done.
Hayden Fox's Assessment Week 15
Hayden Fox
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Published on 12-16-2013 01:24 AM
Number of Views: 2035
* I have to start with the coaching staff. I have hammered this staff lately, starting with the head coach. Joe Philbin helped lead his team to a victory over the New England Patriots. Philbin kept steady after an uneven start to the game. His clock management at the end of the 1st half was masterful. With the offense being shutout, he effectively used timeouts to give some time to his offense to put up a score. The offense responded with a great 2 minute drive and a TD. Philbin also deserves credit for how the team looked coming out of half time. The team's play was a bugaboo in the last game versus the Patriots. This time, the Fins were more competitive and outlasted the Patriots. Finally, the 4th and 5 call was awesome. He could not give the ball back to Tom Brady to ice the game, especially with the condition of his CB's. Philbin rolled the dice and came up huge. Credit to Joe Philbin.
* Mike Sherman had his best game of the season. He had a good mix of run and pass. He consistently found the match up in the passing game to exploit. What was best about Sherman t was his play calling in the Red Zone. The misdirection looks on the TD pass to Daniel Thomas was outstanding. Finally, the design on the game winning TD was tremendous. He was able to get Marcus Thigpen matched on Donte' Hightower, who traditionally struggles in coverage.
* Kevin Coyle. His group bent and bent, but never broke. The Patriots had two, 15 play drives that netted six points. He was aggressive all the way through in the game. He was able to manufacture a defense without his top corners. At end of the game, I was frustrated with the timeout calls on final Patriots drive for I thought it allowed the Patriots to organize themselves. However, the more I thought about it, with so many new faces in the secondary, it was a very wise move by Philbin and Coyle. The stoppages allowed everyone to get on the same page.
* Even turnover differential.
* Ryan Tannehill was on fire today. He led his team. He was 25-37, 3 TD's and no interceptions. His QB rating was 120.6. I love the fact that he was off a bit early, but settled in. He was in command of the 2 minute drill at the end of the half. His connection with Mike Wallace for a TD was huge in terms of momentum. On the game winning drive, he made some great throws and got his team to pay dirt.
* Mike Wallace had 105 yards on 6 receptions and a TD. He was available for his QB and made some tough catches. His catch and run at the end of the half was big obviously in terms of the scoreboard, but also for momentum.
* Brian Hartline went for a 70 yards and caught 5 balls. He was available for RT at some important spots throughout the game.
* Some of the biggest, most difficult catches were made by Rishard Matthews. Matthews great catch down the sideline on the offense's final drive of the game was awesome. He caught the ball at its highest point and got his feet in bounds.
* I thought it was impressive how the Fins killed the Patriots with throws between the numbers.
* While he was not heard from much, Charles Clay individual effort on the 4th and 5 call on the last drive was simply incredible. The play look dead, yet Clay would not be denied. He picked up the five yards and the drive continued.
* Quietly, Lamar Miller had a nice day. He had 61 yards for a 4.1 per carry. He had a lot of success getting outside on the Patriots defense.
* Marcus Thigpen and Daniel Thomas proved to be adept receivers on their respective TD's. Miami showed some versatility with their offensive package by utilizing their RB's.
* Mike Pouncey was the leader of this line. He got the line into the correct protections and helped the running game all day. Very smart football player.
* The Dolphins 2 Minute/No huddle offense was great today. At the end of the half and the game winning drive, Miami was in its element without a huddle, moving at a fast pace.
* The Red Zone defense by Kevin Coyle's charges might be the story of the game. They kept the Pats to 1-4 in the red area. As stated above, they bent and bent, but never broke.
* Run defense. They gave up less than 100 yards (96) after the Pats steamrolled them up in Foxboro.
* Cam Wake put constant pressure on Tom Brady. Wake had a sack and hit Brady on numerous occasions as well.
* Derrick Shelby in the 4th quarter got pressure and forced Brady into an incompletion on a 3rd and 2.
* Brandon Fields punt that landed inside the 2.
* While the pass rush was spotty through three quarters, it picked up late in the 4th.
* Gutsy effort by the DB's. With Dimitri Patterson IR'ed, Brent Grimes cramping and Nolan Carroll leaving the game, it was all hands on deck. While it was not pretty, they found a way.
* Props to Michael Thomas. Brand new to the team, Thomas had a big PD in the end zone as the Patriots tried to score the game winner. Thomas came down with the game winning interception to clinch the win.
* The Dolphins finished halves today. It is something that they were good at in September during their winning streak. They were outstanding at finishing halves today...a total of two TD's and repelling Tom Brady from the end zone.
* Props to the crowd. Great noise late. It was awesome to hear the noise and see the fans having fun.
* 3rd down offense. The O was only 4-11 on the money down.
* The RB's struggled in the first half with blitz pick ups. They missed assignments and other times got rocked back into Tannehill's lap.
* RT under threw Wallace in the 4th quarter. Wallace got separation, but again, RT could not lead him enough.
* Overall, the offense yielded four sacks. While the pass pro came through when it mattered, some of the sacks got the offense off of schedule.
* 3rd down defense. The D yielded 9 for 17. The reason that some of these 3rd downs were converted were because of the lack of success by the defense on first down. Too many 3rd and 5 or less.
* Will Davis is trying, but he is simply not ready to compete. He was easily picked on by Brady. Davis was over his head.
* On the Pats go ahead TD in the 4th, Jimmy Wilson made no attempt to tackle the receiver. He appeared to poke at the ball and ran right by him. Terrible effort.
* After the botched field goal and sudden change, the defense was unable to stop the Pats from storming down the field and scoring a TD.
* Whether it was a botched fake field goal attempt or simply poor snap and hold execution, the John Denney snap that hit Fields when he was not looking was ugly. It took points off of the board and is simply a play that cannot happen at this point in the year....especially, from two quality veterans.
* Jason Trunsnik's penalty that killed a solid return by Thigpen and stunted a drive.
* In large part, through solid Patriot execution, the Fins lost the field position battle in the first half.
Overall Assessment
* This was Joe Philbin's best win of his career. He was a factor in the team winning throughout the game. Excellent job. He made some gutsy calls. Overall, he and his staff matched the best coach in the NFL and got a win.
* Joe going for it on 4th and 5 was the equivalent of him faking the punt versus the St. Louis Rams late in the game last year. Both were gutsy calls that aided in his team winning.
* Miami beat a good team today. The Patriots have the best QB in the league. They have the best HC in the league. The players are well coached. Finally, they know how to make money plays. Miami stepped up and beat a very good team. It is something to proud of.
* I was not surprised that the Dolphins 3rd receiver had success. In the first game with the Pats, Brandon Gibson used up their defense until getting hurt in the 1st half. I wonder how the first game would have been different if Gibson did not get hurt. With that said, Matthews picked up where Gibson left off by making money catches.
* It was awesome to see the emotion of Thomas after getting the interception. One can only think of the hard work the kid has put in. Also, he made a decision to leave the 49ers and try his lot with a new team. He moves across the country and starts anew. To come into the game when he did and make the winning plays down the stretch (against none other than Tom Brady) is simply incredible. I feel great for the kid.
* I do not remember a game in which CB's started dropping like happened to the Fins today. Losing their top two CB's is bad enough and couple that against It was uneasy to say the least. Just a crazy situation.
* Tom Brady is a great QB. I cannot stand his team, but I respect him. I do love beating his team whenever that can happen.
* Tom Brady should show more respect after a loss in his presser. Give some credit to the opponent and save the "S" bomb for private.
* Steven Gostkowski hurt his team. He missed a field goal left and his kickoff went out of bounds after the Pats went ahead in the 4th. He has had a great year, but today he hurt his team.
* The crowd was awesome. South Florida knows their football...they just need to go to the games. With that said, the fans will show when the team wins. The fans will be loud when the team gives them something to cheer about. It is a two way street. The noise from the home fans was tremendous.
* I do not think it was a coincidence that Mike Pouncey had to testify in front of a grand jury this week. No, it is not that the prosector was attempting to help the Patriots. This week was used, however, to get more press on the Aaron Hernandez case. So much for secret testimony. From serving Pouncey at Gillette Stadium in October to using this week for him to testify, the prosecutor has been using garbage tactics in this case. He is desperate and I question if he will get his murder conviction.
* Let's go Steelers and Lions. I think Baltimore beats the Pats next week btw. Brutal spot for the Pats.
* As this was Philbin's best win as a coach, he has a monumental task this week. After an emotional, huge win, the team goes to Buffalo. The weather will be bad and the Bills are a good team regardless of the record. They have some match ups that they can have success with against Miami. Doug Marrone is serious about setting a tone for next year. His team will play loose and with energy. Miami cannot afford a let down and need to play a good game to win this game. It is on Joe Philbin to put a successful plan together and have his team emotionally ready against the Bills.
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Published on 12-15-2013 05:12 PM
Front Page News,
The losing streak to New England is over. A three game winning streak and a chance at the postseason. A statement win in a division that has been dominated by New England for the past decade. All true story lines after the Miami Dolphins defeated the Patriots 24-20 on a hot Sunday in December.
Playing perhaps the franchise's biggest game since the 2008 season, the Dolphins showed the Patriots and the entire NFL that they are real and a threat to be taken serious. With today's win the team improved to 8-6 and currently hold a half game lead for the final wildcard over the Baltimore Ravens (Baltimore plays the Detroit Lions tomorrow night on Monday Night Football).
The Dolphins erased a 10-0 deficit the Patriots built in the first half and outscored New England 24-10 the rest of the way. Ryan Tannehill continues to grow and show that he is a legitimate franchise quarterback as he completed 25 of 37 passes for 312 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Tannehill's 39 yard strike to Mike Wallace in the final minute of the first half was the momentum changer the Dolphins needed for the rest of the game. Tannehill in the fourth quarter connected on a two yard touchdown pass to Daniel Thomas and a 14 yard touchdown to Marcus Thigpen. The pass to Thigpen proved to be the game winning score.
The Dolphins defense bended in the final minute of the game as Tom Brady led the Patriots 66 yards to the Dolphins 14. However, newly acquired cornerback Michael Thomas made the play of the game picking off Brady in the endzone to seal the victory.
The 8-6 Dolphins will surely be watching the Ravens big game tomorrow night against the Lions as they continue to make a bid for the postseason for the first time since 2008. The Dolphins travel to Buffalo next week to take on the Bills and will wrap up regular season play the following week at home against the New York Jets.
Ask a fan: Hayden Fox's Week 14 Assessment
Hayden Fox
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Published on 12-08-2013 11:21 PM
Number of Views: 1239
* First of all, what a quality win that was. On the road, in the cold, in the snow, in a tough road environment versus playoff competition. It was a gutsy, gutsy win.
* Props to Daniel Thomas. Many thought DT was done for the year. First, he showed toughness by simply returning to the lineup, but it was his contributions that were huge today. On a day that tough, straight ahead running was needed, Thomas answered the call. He had 105 yards on 16 carries and TD. The biggest run of the day was a 55 yarder that set up the eventual game winning TD in the 4th quarter.
* The running game churned out a total of 181 yards. Very impressive.
* Charles Clay. Stud performance. 98 yards on 7 receptions and 2 TD's. His game winner, he busted through tackles to hit pay dirt. There were some other receptions in which he juked defenders to gain extra yards. Clay was a weapon today.
* Ryan Tannehill has excellent today. He was 20-33 for 200 yards, 3 TD's and 1 interception. He was also effective with his legs. A 48 yard read option helped get the offense going early. 56 rushing yards total Tannehill.
* The pass protection was great. Considering the opponent and its scheme, the line gave up only two sacks.
* Mike Pouncey was athletic and got out in front on multiple runs.
* Brian Hartline's TD catch. A vintage Hartline toe tap.
* Rush defense. The defense held Pittsburgh and the talented La'Veon Bell to 84 yards.
* Cameron Wake with a strip, sack. It set up the team's first TD.
* Olivier Vernon had big tackle on Ben Roethlisberger on 4th down. It was a big tackle. O.V. also garnered another sack to his team leading total.
* Nolan Carroll was tough in coverage. He had some big passes defensed. None other were bigger than a late PD on a 3rd down in the 4th. The Fins eventually got the ball after a Steelers punt and RT led the offense to a go ahead score.
* Brent Grimes was up to his usual self today. He had nice coverage during the game.
* Miami coverage's units were dynamite today. The weather conditions were brutal to cover kicks and yet they were up to the task. Don Jones had a great open field tackle. Marlon Moore had a big stick. Both kicks and punts were covered very well.
* Jimmy Wilson blocked a punt (technically the punt went one yard so it is a deflection). It was a good aggressive play.
* Mike Sherman's play calling was good today. He took use of the read option (perhaps could have done more). I like how they took multiple shots deep. He stayed with the run as well. Good day for Sherm.
* Kevin Coyle used Dion Jordan in some different looks. One that caught my eye is on a passing down, Jordan was inside at DT. Upon the snap, he busted out into coverage.
* Good challenge by Joe Philbin on the Hartline TD catch.
* Joe Philbin had his team ready to go and mentally prepared for the cold. It is always tough to play two road games in a row. However, Philbin ultimately had his team up to the task.
* The team did not quit after the Troy Polamalu's pick six.
* The offense scored a TD off of a TO created by the defense.
* 34 points in a win. Miami was the last team in the league to accomplish the 30 point barrier.
* The team snapped its skid of not scoring a TD in the 4th quarter.
* The game management by Joe Philbin at the end of the 1st half was awful. First, he let time tick down and did not stop the clock as the Steelers went to punt. Jimmy Wilson then went on to block the punt. For some reason, on 4th and 2, Philbin elected a 53 yard field a stadium in which nobody kicks long FG's successfully...let alone during a snow event. The kick was run back as Dolphins fans heart's jumped a beat thinking of Alabama/Auburn. The right call, with multiple timeouts, would have been to go for it and see if a closer FG could have been accomplished.
* The defense let up on the last play. Some players were not set, some looked like they thought the Steelers could not possibly score and looked for someone else to make the play. Fortunately, Brown stepped out of bounds. Both Reshard Jones and Chris Clemons took horrible angles to the ball carrier. This team must literally finish each game.
* 3rd down offense. The offense was only 5 of 13.
* 3rd down defense. The Steelers hit on 50% of 3rd downs (8-16). There were also way too many 3rd and long's yielded.
* 1 to 1 Turnover differential. For the Dolphins to win down the stretch, they have to get this stat on the "plus" side. At the very least today, the Dolphins were even and that was enough to win today.
* Ryan Tannehill's pick six.
* The defense gave up a TD after Miami went up ten points. In under three minutes, the Fins were up ten and were down four points.
* The defense gave up a TD after Hartline's TD.
* The defense had no answer for Jerricho Cotchery and Antonio Brown.
* Holding penalties on Mike Pouncey and Lamar Miller on the same drive.
* Part of the issues on defense is Kevin Coyle's schemes get figured out and there is no "second" adjustment from him.
* While I liked the read option looks, RT had a few chances to keep the ball for yards. Whether he read it wrong or was told to hand the ball off, more yards could have been earned with the QB keeping the ball. QB's can get injured in this spot, so I totally understand not wanting to expose the QB.
Overall Assessment
* Huge win. On the road, in the cold, in the snow, at a tough road venue, against an experienced team still in that is still in the mix...just a big, big win.
* This win effectively ends the season for the Steelers. The Fins and Ravens are essentially pitted against each other going down the stretch.
* Ben Roethlisberger is an excellent QB. He is talented and tough.
* Scoring 34 points on a Dick LeBeau defense is an accomplishment. Props to the players and offensive coaching staff. Regardless of the aging players on the Pittsburgh defense, it still is coached well and has smarts and pride. Nice accomplishment by the offense.
* Miami overcame adversity today...awesome to see. However, there are other times they cannot handle success. Being up and losing leads is too common this season. It is up to the coaching staff to get this team to improve in understanding the momentum swings of a game.
* I still think that Mike Tomlin should have been suspended today. The act he pulled on Thanksgiving is disgusting and has no part in the game.
* The Steelers are dirty. Cameron Heyward threw two Dolphins to the ground. Ryan Clark was head hunting all game. After Big Ben was stopped short of the 1st down, a linemen leveled Koa Misi well after the play.
* I never want to hear Steelers fans complain about not getting calls. They get calls all the time.
* What is the exact concussion protocol? How does Ike Taylor get knocked cold and re-enter the game a few plays later? I am confused.
* How many of us thought of Nick Saban at the end of the 1st half?
* With the win the Jason Laconfora's and Louis Riddick's of the world can save the "Dolphins made a mistake by signing Mike Wallace" stories or the writing pieces that talk about how the Steelers "don't make personnel mistakes". Maybe they did or maybe they didn't, but at the end of the day they are 5-8 and Mike Wallace's team is 7-6.
* Here is hoping that Sun Life is packed to the last row and is a loud, inhospitable building for the Patriots.
* While we will all talk playoff scenarios and that is proper, in my opinion the season was first about making progress. I questioned a few weeks ago if progress had been this year. However, I can say over the last two weeks, progress has been made. That is outstanding to see. There are still three crucial weeks to go to make the final assessment of how much this team has improved this year.
Ask a Fan: Hayden Fox's Week 12 Assessment
Hayden Fox
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Published on 11-25-2013 04:57 PM
Number of Views: 3617
* The defensive line controlled the Panthers for most of the day. They got good pressure on Cam Newton. They only came away with two sacks, but they pressured Newton into some bad decisions.
* Credit has to Kevin Coyle for his defense scheme vs. the Panthers. The way he spied Newton and rushed Dion Jordan more was outstanding. The defense missed in some areas, but they did enough to win the game.
* Nolan Carroll had a great game. Many people were discussing the fact that he and Ted Ginn were squaring off. Carroll got the most of the battle with 4 PD's and an interception.
* Olivier Vernon was active. He had sack. He just missed another. He also ran down Newton and stopped him just short of a 1st down.
* Cam Wake was tough today as was Randy Starks with his initial penetration.
* Props to the defense after the offense turned the ball over on the first series. They forced the offense to a FG attempt that was blocked.
* Ryan Tannehill was up against a strong defense. He did well considering. 310 yards, 1 TD and 1 Int. The Cover 2 could have gave him issues, but he looked off of receivers and made some plays. He also created with his legs...he was the team's leading rusher.
* Mike Wallace. While some plays might have been left on the field, Wallace was pretty much the offense. He had 127 yards on 5 catches and a TD. 25.4 yards per catch.
* Brian Hartline was solid with his route running. 78 yards on 5 catches.
* Lamar Miller was solid as a pass receiver today. Turned out to be a good outlet.
* Overall the pass protection was good. It helped that Carolina's best pass rusher was out, but so was Mike Pouncey and Richie Incognito. They gave up three sacks and one coming at the end of the game. Pleasantly surprised.
* It was good to see Mike Sherman moving the pocket and allowing some action to develop down field.
* Dion Jordan got credit for a blocked FG attempt in the 1st quarter.
* Caleb Sturgis returned to his preseason form on his kickoffs. He boomed them routinely out of the back of the end zone.
* Punter Brandon Fields was able to keep the Panthers off of a short field.
* Joe Philbin was outstanding with his challenges today. The challenge stating that Newton was shy of a first down forced a punt. A second half challenge kept a drive alive for the offense in attempt to run out the clock.
* No points in the 2nd half
* 7 straight games and no TD's in the 4th quarter
* FG's in the Red Zone. 0-2 in the red area.
* The defense did a terrible job finishing the 1st half. They allowed the Panthers to get into FG range and steal 3 points.
* Right out of the half, Carolina drives for a TD, cutting the lead to 3.
* The 4 minute drill to try to ice the game ended up failing. Incomplete passes, penalties and bad running led to the Fins having to punt the ball with enough time for the Panthers to come back
* 4th and 10, Carolina goes for it and Newton hits Steve Smith for a first down. The Panthers drove for the game winning TD later on.
* Poor tackling on the Mike Tolbert run.
* Reshad Jones personal foul on Newton on the final drive.
* Turnover differential was 1 to 1. Not good enough against a team with supposed better talent. For the Fins to win, they must win the TO battle.
* Ryan Tannehill had a tipped interception on the first drive of the game.
* RT was inaccurate on balls to Wallace (overthrow) and a loft to Charles Clay over the top of the Panthers D.
* RT took as sack (on a drive near the end of the 3rd/beginning of 4th) that got the team off schedule. It was a 3 step drop. The ball needed to come out.
* Mike Wallace dropping a desperation heavy on the next to last play of the game that would have won the game for the Fins.
* Rishard Matthews was bad today. Albeit he got leveled in the end zone, he did not hold on to perfect pass that would have been a TD. He was not alert on a pass that whizzed by his head in the Red Zone. Tough game for Matthews.
* Negative runs in the run game. They took the team off of schedule.
* Miami's top two RB's had a grand total of 16 yards.
* The offense was 4-16 on 3rd down.
* Ted Ginn long punt return.
* Brandon Fields sailed his last punt in the end zone setting up the Panthers at the 20.
* Terrible clock management by Joe Philbin. I sincerely believe that he though the Panthers were going to settle for 3 and wanted time on offense to win it. All it did was give the Panthers more time, organization and reason to score a TD. Miami ended up having no timeouts with just over 40 seconds remaining. Philbin should have kept his timeouts unless they got in close to the end zone. Perhaps they would have been forced to kick a field goal based on the time of the game if he had let the clock run.
* I disliked the call of attempting a 52 yarder in the 4th quarter. The kick was not close. I would have gone for it and not yielded the field position. It was very questionable decision and brutal miss.
* The flag pick up on Luke Kuechly's hit on Matthews at the end of the half was awful. It would have set up a goal to go situation and a possible TD. The Panthers probably do not get a chance to tack on 3 points if the Miami drive was extended. Terrible job by the referees.
* Fox was very late with replays for the viewer that ended up being changed on the field. Shabby broadcast.
Overall Assessment
* The Miami Dolphins under Joe Philbin are mentally weak and lack a killer instinct. Whether it was finishing in the Red Zone, finishing the half, trying to end the game on a 4 minute drill or trying to stop the Panthers from converting a 4th and 10, Miami consistently does not come through. Teams reflect their head coach on the field. Joe Philbin is not getting it done as the HC.
* What goes on at half time to have the Dolphins come out and be bad for the 2nd half? That is squarely on the coaching staff and the HC.
* No points in the 2nd half and no TD's in the 4th quarter for 7 straight games. Who is responsible for that?
* With that said, I was impressed that the team did not seem to be affected by the Ted Wells investigation. The team seemed focused and that is a credit to the staff and players.
* Even though the defense let up 3 right before the half and the eventual game winning TD late, I cannot blame them for the loss. The offense needed to do just a bit more and could not.
* I feel for Sam Brenner. He was doing okay and looks like he got hurt bad. Tough break.
* Danny Watkins was inactive today? What is happening with him?
* Getting Mike Pouncey back is a must for the month of December
* Marcus Thigpen is really becoming ineffective as a kick and punt returner.
* The Panthers got a gutsy win after two huge wins versus the 49ers and Patriots. That was an example of being mentally tough, people.
* Cam Newton did not have his best stuff today, but found a way to win.
* Kuechly is one lucky MLB. That was a penalty last week on Monday Night and should have been penalized again on the hit on Matthews.
* With all of this being said...and I am so frustrated, this game does not mean as much as the next two, starting next week in New York. EVERYTHING Miami wants to accomplish is still ahead of them. With gobs of 5-6 teams kicking around, it is about surviving and advancing. It is about garnering tie breakers versus teams around them. Obviously, a win would have helped the overall record today. However, it does not change the fact that Miami is still in the wild card hunt with the other teams. It is time for the Joe Philbin to give proper direction of this team and for the leaders of the team to start making game altering plays. It is STILL in front of the Dolphins...and it starts next week versus the New York Jets.
Ask a fan: Hayden Fox's Week 11 Assessment
Hayden Fox
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Published on 11-17-2013 11:28 PM
Number of Views: 4840
* I got to start with the offensive line. Between the Jonathan Martin scandal and Mike Pouncey coming up ill, it looked disastrous coming into today. However, this group played well today considering everything. The line gave up four sacks, but only two were on them at first blush. Eric Weddle got to Ryan Tannehill on a safety blitz and the other one RT ran out of bounds at the end of the game. In the run game, the line got good push. After last week's terrible output, the line helped out by going for 104 yards and over 5 yards a pop.
* Sam Brenner. I give the coaching staff credit for putting aside draft status and putting in the guy that they thought could do the job. Danny Watkins got in some, but Sam Brenner seemed to do okay. Good for the kid that learned just last night he was starting his first NFL game.
* Coach Turner got his name slung into the mud today, undoubtedly by Jon Martin's people. Props to him that he might be able to smile tonight after his group's effort.
* Credit must go to the offensive play calling. Mike Sherman had one of his best games of the season. While there is some criticism within this game, overall Mike Sherman gave the offense a chance to succeed. First, Sherman came out attacking through the air versus a lousy San Diego pass defense. He got the Chargers out of sorts. By passing early, he set up the run. The run game had excellent design. They ran out of the shot gun. They ran out of the pistol. They ran a reverse to Thigpen. They went Read Option. They allowed the line to get rugged and ran the rock right at the Chargers. The first part of the 4 Minute drill was tremendous. Showing confidence in the offense, Sherman attacked. They got first downs and showed they were not about to give the ball back to the Chargers. While the first part of the 4 Minute Drill was good, the last part struggled, which will be discussed in the negatives. Overall, Mike Sherman was excellent today.
* On that 4 Minute drive, Brian Hartline made a nice catch and got upfield. Alertly, he stayed in bounds. Rishard Matthews also picked up a first down of this drive.
* Charles Clay was the MVP on offense. 90 yards on 6 catches and a TD. Clay made one of the best plays of the year in the 2nd Half, running through the Chargers secondary for a TD. It was tough-minded play that has seemed to be lacking from this team this year. Great play and great game for the TE out of Tulsa.
* Ryan Tannehill made some good throws. Considering the changes up front and the trouble getting the ball to Mike Wallace, he played a solid game considering.
* Daniel Thomas had his best game of the year. He ran hard...very physical. He had 57 yards on 10 carries...5.5 a pop and a TD.
* Red Zone defense. The defense forced the Chargers to kick 2 FG's in 3 of their Red Zone opportunities. Might have been the difference in the game. One of those stops, Kevin Coyle called a perfect safety blitz with Chris Clemons and it forced a bad Phillip Rivers pass.
* The pass rush came alive in the 2nd Half. Olivier Vernon had a HUGE sack in the 4th as he beat D.J. Fluker. It pushed the Chargers back far enough that a FG attempt was not possible at the end of the series. Jared Odrick also got in on sack. Finally, Cameron Wake showed up huge on the final drive taking down Rivers and in turn forcing SD to take their last timeout.
* Brent Grimes. He had a interception in the 1st Quarter. He had strong coverage throughout the day. Alertly, he knocked down the last pass of the game in the corner of the end zone.
* 3rd down defense...kept the Chargers to 4-11.
* It was good to see Dion Jordan getting more looks...some were at defending Antonio Gates. He was around the QB some as well when rushing the passer.
* Penalties. The Fins had only 3 for 15 yards. Considering the changes up front and the distractions all week, that is tremendous stat. The Chargers on the other hand had 10 penalties for 75 yards. The Fins proved to be more disciplined.
* The team played hard for 60 minutes. That credit goes to Coach Philbin. He had the team to play for the entire game today.
* 3rd down offense. 2 of 10. Too many patterns are not going beyond the sticks. I understand that sometimes a receiver has to get the ball before sticks, run and make the first down. However, some of these down and distances are not so long that a pattern cannot go beyond the needed distance. Not good enough.
* While I waxed poetic about the early part of the 4 minute drill, the last part however, was brutal. The situation screamed for the team to run and make the Chargers use their timeouts. The team kept throwing. One incompletion killed the clock. Then, inexplicably on the 3rd down play, RT bootlegged and ran out of bounds, killing the clock again. I understand he did not want to throw a pick, but grab a seat in bounds forcing the Chargers to use their last timeout. While the drive had positives, it was mind numbing how it came to an end.
* Bogging down in the red area on the opening drive was tough. After a stellar drive, the team could not come up with the necessary plays to punch in an opening TD.
* Ryan Tannehill's interception. The DB's baited him well, but the turnover was turned into a TD for the Chargers. The pass before that, could have been a pick six the other way.
* RT under throwing a wide open Mike Wallace.
* Mike Wallace's body language when his QB misses him deep.
* John Jerry's two false start penalties. For the guy that has played the most of the group, he cannot be making those penalties.
* The run defense was awful. They gave up 159 yards for 5.9 per carry. The LB's are most to blame. They take horrendous angles and simply miss tackles.
* Giving Antonio Gates a free release into the end zone for an easy score. It created an easy pitch and catch for Rivers and Gates.
* After the great Clay TD run, the defense goes on to the field and yields a drive that leads to a long FG. The defense failed to keep the momentum after the great run by Clay.
* Nolan Carroll dropped a would-be pick on the goal line. The ball hit him in the hands. The Chargers cashed in 3 points on the next play.
* The faded lines from the soccer field looked terrible. Not as bad as the infield cut out from the baseball field years ago, but the soccer lines looked shabby.
Overall Assessment
* Folks, enjoy the win. I killed the team this week and gave up at times today. I have seen the team wilt in big spots too many times. It is okay to criticize, but some people are poo-pooing the win. That is ridiculous. My goodness guys...enjoy the win. All things considered, that is a solid win.
* The Fins are back in the Wild Card hunt. I was killed in my assessment last week by some posters by simply stating that the season was not over after the Tampa Bay loss and that actually the season was on the line today versus San Diego. Turns out I was right. The Fins got a ton of help in the standings...again...this week. They are 5-5 with two games left with the Jets. The competition behind the Fins have some tough games as well. 8-8 could get the last seed into the playoffs. While I do not think the Fins will win next week, for it is a bad match up across the board, it is still a non conference game. Regardless of the outcome versus the Panthers, the following week at the New York Jets will be huge. Through all the turmoil, suspect play, questionable coaching and a tough schedule, the Miami Dolphins are in this thing.
* I was very happy to see the team play hard tonight. We did not see that all that much versus the Bucs. Today, the team played hard and that is a credit to the players, but mostly Coach Philbin. When I rip Philbin for the team being listless, he in turn deserves praise when his team plays hard.
* I trashed the defense in the GDT quite a bit. Some might be warranted, but other times not. While they frustrate me to no end at times, when it was all said in done, the Chargers got 1 TD and 3 FG's. At the end of the day, it is about points scored and yielded. Today, they kept a pretty good offense under 20 points. Credit to them.
* More big plays are needed. They need to get more turnovers and have a large turnover differential each game. On offense, they need to have bigger plays. Wallace and Lamar Miller can deliver those, but they have to start to come through when given a chance. Big plays are a way to supplement an offense that battles with consistency.
* The team needs to have better killer instinct. The great play by Charles Clay yelled for the defense to step up and make a find a way to keep momentum. However, the defense allowed 3 points by the Chargers. The week before, it was reversed. After a Jimmy Wilson interception, the offense had a chance to step on TB's throat with a TD...they did not as they settled for a FG. The team MUST get better here. It is up to the coaches to get the players to see those critical situations. It is up to the players to make the necessary plays to knock an opponent down.
* While the offensive line did nice work today, the Chargers do have a weak front. That should not take away from the what the guys did today. However, it must be pointed out that next two defensive fronts (Car and NYJ) are loaded and coached very well. The line has to have its best personnel available and find ways to improve.
* Sam Brenner did a nice job, but what does it say when he starts ahead of a late preseason free agent pick up in Danny Watkins and a 3rd round pick in Dallas Thomas?
* How bad has the run defense got? They were #3 overall two years ago and are sliding to the bottom half of the league.
* Reshad Jones has been ordinary to bad since his contract extension. A signing that I supported, has not worked out. More is needed from him. It is time for him to do the little things that made him an impact guy last year.
* I know he is trying, but Dimitri Patterson's groin injury is frustrating. What is even more frustrating is that Nolan Carroll is the "next man up". Carroll should be the guy based on the roster, but that does not mean he is very capable. Carroll seems to make a play, but gives up a big one thereafter. His dropped pick today is like a turnover...especially that deep in SD territory.
* Corey Liguet is a dirty player. That was cheap shot on RT that thankfully kept a TD drive alive after a Hartline fumble. I think he got Peyton Manning low last week.
* While the Fins got the attention about the issues on the Oline, the Chargers had almost as many.
* Sad turnout of fans at Sun Life. I give credit to Mr. Ross that he keeps the games on TV. With that said, the fans that were there were awesome. They seemed into it. Good for them. I wish the team had more local support.
* Unfortunately, this week will be the biggest week of distractions. Not only is a loaded Panthers team coming, but so is Ted Wells. The team will be focused on what this Martin mess is going to bring. The media will be back and there will be leaks everywhere.
* Jonathan Martin is a snake. I will keep saying it. How he brought this team into this fiasco is beyond me. His grin from ear to ear at the Stanford/SC game is galling. BTW, thank you SC for beating his school. I guess he was a loser twice this weekend. The Fins are 2-1 since Martin walked out on his team. There are a lot of people that deserve static for some shortcomings in Miami, but make no mistake about it, Jon Martin is the root for the current ills of this team.
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