The Miami Dolphins will have their hands full this afternoon with a visiting Carolina Panther team who boasts the best NFL defense and a surging offense. While the game still is an hour and a half away from being played and another three from being completed, there is some news and information to wet your game day appetite.
Yes a Shula will in Miami today coaching but unfortunately that coach is the Mike and he will be calling the plays for Carolina. The Panthers OC has done a great job turning around a stagnant Panther offense and has reversed the poor season of a year ago for Cam Newton. Shula has had a long coaching tenure in both college and the NFL. Mike was relieved of his job as the Alabama Crimson Tide HC in favor of then Miami Dolphins head coach Nick Saban.
In 2007 the Dolphins interviewed Mike two times for their head coaching vacancy after Saban left. The Dolphins opted to make Cam Cameron their head coach. Shula has had two stints with the Dolphins as an assistant. He signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as their QB coach and made David Garrard a Pro-Bowl QB. Later he joined the Panthers as their QB coach and made Cam Newton the NFL’s Rookie of the Year. This is his first season as an NFL offensive coordinator.
It’s safe to say that his father, what’s his name? Don? Will be in attendance today along with his brother David who now runs the Shula Steakhouses that bare his families name.
So much for the investigation coming to a close and with it the distraction. Ted Wells announced that while he has interviewed every player and coach and some in the management he believes that he is still weeks away from any concrete outcome. Wells also said that a second round of interviews “could” take place again. Reports are surfacing that some players did not cooperate while others were not as forthcoming as Ted Wells would have liked.
The Miami Dolphins do not have to make a ruling on the future of Incognito quite yet but there is rumblings that the team will either release him or allow him back onto the roster following this weekends game. Incognito has filed a grievance with the NFLPA against the Dolphins and a hearing on that was originally postponed due to the investigation of Ted Wells. That hearing may not happen at all, as the rumors fly.
It is also being reported by the Miami Herald that Incognito paid upwards of $30,000.00 to keep quiet the golf course incident.
According to a report in the Miami Herald Mike Pouncey is the 2nd gunman so to speak. Rumors, mainly because there are no cold hard facts yet, are implicating Pouncey as the guy who harassed others along with Incognito including Jonathan Martin. In addition the “assault” on Martin that we have been hearing about over the past few weeks is now being reported to have happened at Pouncey’s home. Again, so far nothing is concrete and it’s possible that these rumors are another “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” reporting from the Herald.
Hartline has been relatively quiet this week but when asked about today’s game, he said that the Dolphins would be aggressive on offense and that they needed to score 35 points to win. Mike Sherman said they needed to score 40. Not quite sure how Sherman can get 40 points from his offensive play calling unless he is planning to allow someone else to call plays.
Ginn returns to Miami where he now leads Mike Wallace in receptions of more than 20 yards. Ginn has been a nice surprise for Carolina who took a shot on him but Ginn is still not getting on the field as much as a former first round pick should be. Still he is playing on special teams as the Panther returner but will take the ball out of bounds when faced with traffic. In other words, he has gotten better but is still the same old Ginn a lot of the time. He could be a big part of the Panther offense today as he will likely be trying to make a statement to Dolphins fans.
With Mike Pouncey sidelined for the 2nd week in a row with his health issues, Nate Garner will take control of the offensive line starting at center with rookie Sam Brennan manning the LG position.
Patterson has four interceptions in four games. That’s great for the Miami Dolphins defense. The bad part is that he has only played in four games 10 weeks in to the season. Patterson will miss this weeks game as well with the same groin injury that has nagged him all season long. Nolan Carroll will take his place.
In addition to Mike Pouncey and Dmitri Patterson, the other inactives are quarterback Pat Devlin, offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, running back Mike Gillislee, guard Danny Watkins, and defensive tackle Isaako Aaitui. Dallas Thomas will be active today and could see some playing time along the offensive line.
For the Panthers Charles Johnson the teams sack leader will be out with an MCL sprain. RB Kenjon Barner, TE Ben Hartsock, WR’s Tavarres King and Marvin McNutt, OLB Chase Blackburn, G Chris Scott, CB Drayton Florence, and DE Greg Hardy will all be inactive.