What’s Happening?


So, you’ve got plenty of news outlets and particularly I recommend Miami-based ones such as

the Herald for my raw info on the Dolphins.  Yes, I am not an on-the-field reporter in the Dolphins facilities or offices, but am basically a sports analyst.  So, what’s happening in the NFL and particularly with those Miami Dolphins?

I’ll give you a breakdown because I think you’ll find things interesting.  First, several players are working-out at local (Miami) Gyms and staying in shape these days.  This was reported by larger outlets and you will do well to read Armando Salguero’s article on the matter.  What I can add to this is that the players definitely still feel the drive to make the team and excel and to win.  And this is a good thing to notice in the off-season.  Mentioned is that Brandon Marshall has now been working-out for 6 weeks so far in this off-season.  And remember by contrast that last off-season he had a surgery that required him to not run during training camp….  And Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland, you will also remember last season, were not informed of the surgery when they made the trade deal to acquire Marshall.  That’s old news, but interesting on reflection, isn’t it?  And by the way, this year it’s been said that a certain receiver from Jacksonville is possibly interested in coming-over to the Fins.  Here, below is part of such report:

"He’s been under the guidance of Fit Speed Sports Performance in Fort Lauderdale. He was recently joined for a workout by Mike Sims-Walker, which has led to rumors the free agenct receiver recently cut loose by the Jacksonville Jaguars, might be trying to make a pitch to Miami’s top receiver for a good word with Miami’s front office.Read more: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/dolphins_in_depth/#ixzz1I209eZxI"

Enough said on that count.  So let’s look around at other issues now!

Otherwise, the league still may or may not even hold it’s annual draft coming up next month.  A lot will depend on the judge reviewing the situation with Collective Bargaining and deciding whether or not to issue a “stay” with regard to normal continuing operations that would include the draft.  The Herald is reporting another lawsuit filed by some players to stop the draft, in fact.  Speculation by me is that reducing the number of players vis-a-vis cutting out the draft this year could have an impact at increasing current player salaries – and strategically, it would remove a burden of the large or small rookie salaries that normally get added onto the payroll.  Imagine, for instance, if you found that this year your normal budget of a couple of hundred million dollars was now not going to have to include many millions of dollars spent on a rookie crop.  Wouldn’t you then feel a bit flush in the pocketbook?  Ok, it’s a dumb argument but I think it’s the thinking at least behind the recent lawsuit.

Coaches have moved around and one interesting move here in Houston (where I reside) is Wade Phillips coaching the Texans Defense.  He flopped last year as a Head Coach but I still respect some of his past defenses.  If things happen as usual in this regard – look out – the Houston Texans could really become a force to reckon with.  And I’m not kidding here….  The number 1 Running Back in the league, a great passing QB and 2-3 top-notch speed receivers.  Just some tweaking on the defense and these guys could be somewhere in the NFL Universe.

Trade Speculation – Is running rampant right now.  Problem is that there would need to be some rules governing how any trades could or would be executed throughout the league.  So despite some other sites (Bleacher Report) which I hate to “plug” by mentioning them, it is foolish and just hype to start speculating whether Kevin Kolb will go to the Seahawks or end up in Minnesota, etc.  Look, it’s interesting but right now it’s just fantasy land like when you make trades on your Madden NFL game.

Speaking of Madden NFL I have to say that it is interesting when you adjust the mix of players a bit or add one or trade one or two that there can be a rather large effect on the play overall.  Is the game any depiction of reality?  Probably not, alas.  But when I added Matt Flynn and started him in place of Chad Henne, even though the performance statistics said Henne was better (on Madden Football at least) Flynn took over and the Fins had a much more potent offense and passing game.

Chad Henne is going to start for the Fins this season, however.  Take your medicine now.  That’s the way it is and you can shout to the moon but it won’t matter – he’s the guy.  But you know something?  He’s got all of the tools and the smarts to make it.  He’s not dumber than Aaron Rodgers or got a weaker arm than Ben Roethlisberger.   And no reason he can’t move a bit more in the pocket either.  But he hasn’t been taught fundamentals properly.  He can’t read defenses like Rodgers or pass with touch like either of them. He has the ability to do it but needs to be made to do it by the coaches.  I’m sorry, but that’s why coaching matters (refL Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, Tom Landry, et. al.).  Wonder if it would have made a difference if Dan Marino had been coached by Dan Henning…?  Think he’d be confused too?

Remember how Marino came to the Dolphins?  Basically, the Dolphins had a very low pick in the 1983 draft due to playing in the Superbowl the previous year.  And Marino, who was very highly rated as a passer, was still on the boards somehow when Don Shula was getting ready to make the selection.  Shula says that he phoned Marino’s coach at Pittsburgh and asked him how could it be that this guy was still there, undrafted?  And the answer was that the other teams who needed QB’s were afraid to take him because of a potential drinking problem that had been the subject of some rumor and a couple of minor college incidents.  Shula laughed!  Anybody in college has a few beers some time in their youth.  And wouldn’t a student attending in Pittsburgh be inclined to have a few?  And the rest as they say, is history…..

"Marino was the first draft pick in the history of the United States Football League, selected by the Los Angeles Express.[4] He did not sign with the team; the defending AFC Champions Miami Dolphins chose Marino with the 27th pick in the NFL draft. After starting the season as a backup to incumbent starter David Woodley, Marino was given his first NFL start in Week 6 versus the Buffalo Bills. Marino and Miami lost that game 38–35 in overtime. He posted a 96.0 passer rating, then a record for a rookie.[citation needed] He was selected to the Pro Bowl in his rookie year and became the first rookie quarterback to start in a Pro Bowl game.[6] Marino’s first NFL season ended in disappointment, as the Dolphins were upset by the Seattle Seahawks 27-20."

"The following year, Marino broke six NFL full-season passing records, including the records for most touchdown passes (48) and most passing yards (5,084) in a season, and was selected as the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. The Dolphins finished with a 14–2 regular season record, clinching home-field advantage for the playoffs. In the first round, the Dolphins avenged their playoff loss of the previous season to Seattle Seahawks 31–10, and they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelersin the AFC Championship Game 45–28."

Here’s the big point this year, if we have a season: Can Tony Sparano continue what he started with improving the Defense while transitioning to a successful Offense?

If Sparano bites it in either case, my take is he’ll be coaching Offensive Line again for the Cowboys.  He must succeed in his direction that he has chosen.  And this comes down to more than anything else: getting the most out of his assistant coaches.  We’ll see how things progress.  But Sparano contract or no – if the Dolphins are not significantly better on both sides of the ball, you can wave bye-bye to Tony.