Lost in yesterday’s Miami Dolphins victory and Reggie Bush’s 203 yards on the ground, Brandon Marshall eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark in receiving for the second year in a row…in Miami. Perhaps that loss of thought and recognition came as a result of the two dropped touchdown passes early in the game.
Marshall has 62 receptions on the year and many fans will argue that he has as many drops. Marshall was a sure-handed wide receiver coming to Miami from Denver in a trade prior to last season, something that has not exactly worked in his favor to endearing fans. Marshall’s drops were so obvious on Sunday that despite his 65 yard touchdown reception that put him over the 1,000 yard mark.
The last player for the Dolphins to have back to back 1,000 yard receiving seasons? Irving Fryar in his first two seasons with Miami. Way back when Don Shula was still the coach. The last time the Miami Dolphins hosted a 1,000 yard receiver and a 1,000 yard rusher in the same year was. Never.
Reggie Bush is only 28 yards away from reaching his first 1,000 yard season on the ground and if he succeeds in the next two games it will give the Dolphins their first 1,000 yard rusher and receiver. Stats are fun but they literally do not necessarily transfer to victories. Despite the win yesterday against the Buffalo Bills, the Dolphins are still on the outside of the playoffs looking in and the coaching search is building to a full steam ahead process with only two games remaining on the schedule.
The Dolphins will travel to wintry New England on Saturday (only one game on Christmas Sunday this year) to face the division winning New England Patriots who locked up the division a week ago. The Patriots still need to lock up the number one seed and hold a one game lead over the Baltimore Ravens for that coveted home field advantage. So don’t expect New England to be rolling over despite their assurance of a first round bye. The team will finish at home against the NY Jets on New Years day. And a new year it will bring.
Following the game on January first, the Dolphins owner Stephen Ross will officially begin his coaching search and the interview process. With more than the current three team head coaching vacancy expected, Ross will likely act fast to at least interview his top candidates. A process that is more likely to gauge their interest in joining the Dolphins as much as it is about whether they are the right candidate for the job.
Bill Cowher has reportedly denied interest in rejoining the coaching ranks and Jon Gruden has been quiet of late. Of the two Gruden is more likely to come back to coaching if the right job presents itself.
Chasing Ireland? In today’s Miami Herald, Armando Salguero points out that he has a finger on the pulse of what is going to happen with the coaching search and discusses it as well as the ire towards Jeff Ireland. It’s not a very good read and really doesn’t provide much information at all other than the fact that following Sunday’s game he once again chased the Dolphins GM out of the locker room in hopes of a sound bite. Which of course he didn’t get. I bring up the article only because he believes the next HC will be Jeff Fisher or at least be the top coach on Stephen Ross’ candidate list. You can skip reading “his article” that he eludes to quite often, there is absolutely nothing in that piece that provides any credence at all to his thoughts on why Fisher will be the top candidate.
Who Signed that guy?
Mike Pouncey has been a solid player for the Dolphins and could pull an upset and win a trip to Hawaii as a pro-bowler in his rookie season. Despite a lockout that prevented him from working with the starting offensive team, Pouncey has been consistent, steady, and one of the best pulling centers in the NFL. Who signed him?
Brandon Marshall, as noted above eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark despite his knack to drop passes. In two seasons, Marshall still has displayed himself as a talented WR. Who signed him?
Matt Moore has taken his knocks but everyone agrees that the starting job in 2012 is his if for no other reason to bridge the gap between now and a franchise QB. His play, while not spectacular is becoming more consistent and it is apparent that the Dolphins can and do win with him. Moore has never been the starter for a winning team and has typically been surrounded by situations that are out of this control, like the Jerry Richardson/John Fox issue in Carolina in 2010. Still, Matt Moore has proven by his play on the field to be the best QB to come out of the free agent crop of QB’s this past off-season and the best QB of those QB’s available in trade. Even Matt Hasselbeck has been sidelined now in favor of rookie Jake Locker. Who signed this guy?
Reggie Bush is approaching the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in his career and despite the notion that he is not a between the tackle runner, Bush has spent as much time running up the middle as he has to the outside and has yet to make a major impact in the passing game where he was supposedly going to star. Bush has added excitement to the teams offense. His ability to star has allowed a promising rookie, Daniel Thomas, to get better acclimated to the speed of the NFL. Thomas himself is having a solid season as a rookie. Thomas has rushed for over 500 yards despite missing four games with a hamstring injury early in the season. Who signed these guys?
The Dolphins have been clamoring for a one two punch at TE and the Dolphins have found a gem in FB/TE Charles Clay. Clay has added 231 yards through the air in his rookie season in situational work and after missing the first three games with a hamstring injury. His sure handed pass catching ability and his running style after the catch is making him a fan favorite. Clyde Gates was supposed to be the speedy WR that the Dolphins lost when they traded Ted Ginn. He has yet to make an impact in the passing game, but he is ranked in the top 10 players on kick-returns. He is 10th one spot below the aforementioned Ted Ginn. He has over 700 yards on 29 attempts. Who signed these guys?
Quietly making a name for himself on the defensive side of the ball is last years number one draft pick Jared Odrick, his “Pee Wee Herman” sack dance has got the attention of game announcers as well as fans. Odrick, who missed all of last season with an injury, has been an impact player for the three point stance on the outside. His bull rush ability is earning him accolades from the national media and having Jason Taylor on board to help his progress hasn’t hurt. While Odrick is no guaranteed super-star, yet, his play is raising the bar on what is expected. Who signed that guy?
Let’s face it this year has been one horrible ride of a season. The seven straight losses, then just enough wins to bring the team a modicum of respect and cause the team to move down the draft board as opposed to sitting at top. Winning is great but you can’t honestly say, at least internally to yourself, that you wouldn’t rather have a top 2 or even the top pick in this years draft? Or even in a position that you could realistically trade up without throwing everything out the window to do it?
The bottom line is that Ireland hasn’t been spectacular in his tenure with the Dolphins, but his last two drafts appear to be above the line of decent and this past off-season saw his first solo attempt at free agency netting Bush and Moore as well as a still improving Kevin Burnett. Do you really miss Channing Crowder’s play? The knock on Ireland stems more from the inability of this team to solve the QB position which if you look at the reality of the issue, hasn’t presented Ireland with a viable solution. Will this years draft change that?
That is the reality of these Miami Dolphins. They did just enough to make the search for a new franchise QB harder on whomever controls the draft this April…or free agency for that matter. Most fans have no faith in Jeff Ireland. It’s apparent from the banner to be flied on New Years Day to the banter on message boards and newspapers covering the team. When it comes to the Dolphins GM, he simply gets no respect.