Scouting The AFC East: Miami Dolphins

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First a few updates:

1. Manish Mehta is now also corroborating Rich Cimini’s report about the Jets likely signing defensive end Marques Douglas by the end of the week. Don’t sleep on the importance of this move. It provides a big boost to their overall depth in an area that was lacking it.

2. The Jets have announced six individuals will be added to their Ring of Honor in the New Meadowlands: Weeb Ewbank, Winston Hill, Joe Klecko, Curtis Martin, Don Maynard, and Joe Namath.

3. The Jets have signed undrafted defensive tackle Martin Tevaseu from UNLV.

4. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

Scouting The AFC East: Miami Dolphins

Our second look at the teams who share the division with the Jets and how they match up with them heading into 2010:

7/19 – http://turnonthejets.com/2010/07/19/scouting-the-afc-east-new-england-patriots-2/

Today – Miami Dolphins

Offense – I always expect Chad Henne’s statistics to look better when referencing them after hearing the things so many football analysts have to say about him. Yet, Henne had 12 touchdowns to 14 interceptions with a 75.2 QB rating en route to a 7-9 Dolphins season. I won’t argue that Henne has a big arm and showed flashes of potential last season, but can we relax a little bit before we crown this guy the next Dan Marino? Just like there is valid questions about Mark Sanchez heading into 2010, there is questions about Henne heading into this season. The Dolphins finally got themselves a receiver by trading for Brandon Marshall, who immediately takes the spot as the best overall receiver in the division. It remains to be seen how the reps will be divided up between Davone Bess, Greg Camarillo, and Brian Hartline alongside Marshall. Anthony Fasano returns as the team’s starting tight end and they added walking personal foul Richie Incognito to compete for the starting guard position. Starting running back Ronnie Brown is returning from a foot injury that caused him to miss the final seven games last season, continuing his career trend of being injury prone. Do you know Brown has one 1,000 yard season in his 5 year career, and it came way back in 2006 when he ran for 1,008 yards?

Ricky Williams stepped up and had a big season in Brown’s absence last year, finishing with 1,121 rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns. I am not sure how reliable he will be in 2010 to duplicate that type of performance, especially considering he is now 33 years old. The real question is how will the Dolphins score points on the Jets without Ted Ginn Jr. on their roster? The first round bust of Vernon Gholston proportions always killed the Jets for some reason. The Dolphins scored 8 touchdowns against the Jets last year and Ginn had 3 of them, along with another from Jason Taylor who is of course now on the Jets. I would be more worried about Brandon Marshall if the Jets didn’t have Darrelle Revis to cover him. Beyond that, I like the Jets matching up Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson against Hartline, Bess, or Camarillo. The Dolphins Wildcatted all over the Jets in their first match-up last year but when Rex Ryan got a second crack at it, the Jets held Brown and Williams to 27 yards rushing each.

PhotobucketDefense The Dolphins signed former Arizona Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby to a monster deal, who is coming off a 109 tackle and 1 sack season in 2009. Miami parted ways with Jason Taylor and Joey Porter, the team’s two leaders in sacks last season. They are hopeful that Dansby along with second year player Cameron Wake will adequately fill the 16 sacks left behind by Taylor and Porter. They drafted Jared Odrick from Penn State in the first round of the NFL Draft, who should provide a nice boost an already talented collection of defensive lineman. In the secondary, the Dolphins have two young corners in Sean Smith and Vontae Davis, although they have a pro-bowler at safety in Yeremiah Bell. Mark Sanchez had his best statistical game of the 2009 season against the Dolphins defense and as unit they struggled to cover Braylon Edwards, who had a big game in both of the team’s match-ups.

The Dolphins were only 24th in the NFL last year in pass defense, as they had a propensity to give up big plays down the field. They should improve if Smith and Davis make strides in the right direction. Their rushing defense was ranked 18th in the NFL in 2009, yet Dansby and Odrick should help that ranking.

Special Teams – Ginn Jr. won’t be back to torment the Jets on kick returns in 2010. Dan Carpenter is the Dolphins kicker and is coming off a very good season. The Jets did pull off two fake punts on Miami in one game last season.

Overall – The Dolphins swept the Jets last year, thanks to a bizarre no show from the Jets defense in the first meeting, which included one of the league’s worst receivers beating the league’s best corner deep and that same receiver taking two kicks back for a touchdown in the team’s second meeting. A loss is a loss, however and Rex Ryan is still yet to beat the Dolphins as a head coach. The games between these teams are always going to be high intensity, slug fests. Part of me thinks the Dolphins were two fluke wins away from being a 5-11 team in 2009 and they aren’t a serious competitor to the Jets for an AFC East title. Yet a bigger part of me, recognizes the Dolphins have a good amount of talent spread across their roster and they went toe to toe with the best teams in the NFL last season. I have a feeling the December 12th match-up in East Rutherford will go a long way to determining who wins the AFC East in 2010.

2009 Jets vs Dolphins Highlights

Armando Salguero: A Dolphins Beat Writer Living In A Fantasy World

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Since the beginning of the Rex Ryan era, one of my favorite beat writers to read has been Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald. It is always entertaining to get a cheap laugh from the nonsense he has to say in relation to the New York Jets and their rivalry with his Miami Dolphins. It is clearly bothering Armando to be working in a JV sports town like Miami. You know Miami, the city that puts less people in the seats for a Heat game than a WNBA pre-season match-up, despite having a perennial playoff team and one of the best players in the league? The same city that has more fans in green and white than orange and blue during Jets/Dolphins games in their home stadium. We can only hope D-Wade moves on to a real sports town, where his talent can be appreciated and The Miami Herald soon hires a Jets beat writer to cater to all the team’s fans in the area.

Anyway back to Armando who recently wrote a gem of an article entitled “Miami Dolphins Are Not Concerned by New York Jets’ Moves.” He decided to beat the old drum about the Jets crowning themselves as champions in the off-season. Don’t you remember this story from last year when Miami was attacking the Jets for having the same attitude? I remember and I also remember how that attitude brought them within one half of a Super Bowl appearance with a rookie quarterback and a rookie head coach while the Dolphins enjoyed the Miami weather with some golf and relaxation. Their off-season started when the regular season ended, while the Jets played until the end of January.

PhotobucketArmando didn’t like how Mark Sanchez said he was confident his team would return to the White House in February, after he returned from a visit himself when he was invited to meet Mexico’s President and his wife. I don’t mind seeing our young quarterback having confidence in his team, instead of spending time criticizing the abilities of college players who are heading into the NFL Draft. Don’t you remember Chad Henne saying he didn’t think Tim Tebow could cut it at this level? Obviously, Henne is an authority on what it takes to be an NFL quarterback considering his 75.2 QB rating last season and his 14 interceptions to 12 touchdowns.

I know, I know those stats are better than Mark Sanchez’s last season, right? Sure they are, but last time I checked Sanchez got better when the games counted more while Henne got worse. I seem to remember Sanchez leading a 4-6 team to the playoffs with big wins in November and December, followed by winning two road playoff games. I also remember Henne having Miami in position to grab a playoff spot at 7-6, before he finished with a 0-3 record leading his to team to a quite impressive 7-9 finish.

Armando also didn’t like Bart Scott talking about the Jets striving to be the greatest defense in NFL history. Why set such high goals, right? The problem is that Scott just can’t say he wants the #1 defense in the NFL, because the Jets already did that last year. Armando has never liked the Jets boasting and bragging. He likes to paint them as a low character team, led by a buffoon of a head coach who flaps his gums too much.

My favorite part of Armando’s latest article was who decided to use for quotes. He went to Jason Ferguson…the guy who is suspended for 8 games this season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. High character indeed. Starting corner Sean Smith was also cited with a few laughable quotes about winning his battles against Braylon Edwards last year. Don’t you remember Smith? The guy hanging on to Edwards for dear life as he carried him into the end-zone during their week 8 match-up. As Manish Mehta of The Daily News recently pointed out on his blog, Edwards had 9 catches for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Dolphins last season. I hope Sean Smith remains satisfied with his level of play because I am sure the Jets would take those numbers again from Braylon.

But back to the picture Salguero like to paint of the Dolphins. The high character team, with no issues to speak of unlike the Jets. Nobody is saying the Jets brought in a bunch of choir boys this off-season but let’s not ignore Miami signing Richie Incognito one of the NFL’s dirtiest players…actually maybe the NFL’s dirtiest player. The guy has had four games in three years, where he had two personal foul penalties in a single game. He also got into a screaming match on the sideline with his coach last season, which was followed by a $50,000 fine by the league and him subsequently being cut.

What about last off-season when four Miami Dolphins were arrested? Ronnie Brown, DUI. Will Allen, DUI. Randy Starks, assaulting a police officer. Tony McDaniel, domestic battery. All of them are still on the team. Oh and don’t forget about Brandon Marshall who was recently acquired and who has a record of quitting on his team, beating up women, and getting involved in gang fights. What about GM Jeff Ireland who was kind enough to ask Dez Bryant in a pre-draft interview if his mother was a prostitute? High class, all the way around in Miami.

PhotobucketSalguero wrote in his article “Miami Dolphins Have True Character, While Jets Are Full of Characters” last November that “The Dolphins are a team with character. The Jets are a bunch of jerks.” Very eloquent and mature writing, Armando…you would think Bart Scott and David Harris took his lunch money or something. Salguero also scripted up these zingers…

“The Jets? They are a beaten, battered bunch…go for it Rex. Have your locker room filled with big talk and so little in the form of results. Have a locker room that drips sarcasm when a little humility is more appropriate.”

He went on to praise the “resilience” and “character” of the Dolphins. Funny enough, after their November match-up the beaten and battered Jets went to the AFC Championship game while the resilient Dolphins finished with a 3-5 record. The Jerks from New York found a way to get the job done.

Salguero has never been too fond of Rex Ryan. He took a cheap shot at him on Twitter the other day, when he praised Tony Sparano for losing 30 pounds this off-season…without the help of a lap-band. Another mature and professional comment. Way to attack a guy who is trying to get healthy and who has attempted to lose the weight without a medical procedure but has now been forced to use that option so he could be around for his family and his football team.

When Salguero discusses Sparano and Ryan, you would think the Dolphins coach has a glittering record of accomplishments. I actually do think he has done a pretty job in Miami but let’s not forget in two seasons, he has zero playoff wins while Ryan has two wins in one season. Sparano made the playoffs once but was smacked around by the Baltimore Ravens, who were led by Ryan on defense, to the tune of 27-9. Salguero must have been cringing with each of the five turnovers Ryan’s defense forced that day.

The final Salguero piece I need to touch on is another funny read “Miami Dolphins, Jets similarly matched despite offseason boasts” from May 16th. Armando seems to be convinced the Jets and Dolphins are basically even on both sides of the ball heading into this season.

PhotobucketThe last time I checked both of Miami’s starting corners would be battling to be a nickel back on the Jets. Their big time acquisition at receiver, Brandon Marshall, will be taken out of the game by that Darrelle Revis guy, leaving the likes of Davone Bess, Greg Camarillo, and Brian Hartline to get open on Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson. Somehow I don’t think Rex Ryan is losing sleep over that. The Jets have a substantial advantage on the offensive line, even without Alan Faneca which compensates for the Dolphins having more talent at running back. Beyond that, I am fascinated to see how Miami plans to cover Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes (in their second match-up), Jerricho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller with their collection of defensive backs. Finally, the Jets have a clear advantage at both outside linebacker and inside linebacker. You couldn’t find a GM in the league who would take Channing Crowder, Karlos Dansby, Cameron Wake, Charlie Anderson, and Koa Misi over Bart Scott, David Harris, Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, and Jason Taylor.

How does Salguero expect the Dolphins to beat the Jets without Ted Ginn Jr. on the roster? The only reason Miami beat the Jets twice last year was for some reason the first round bust decided to actually produce against the Jets. Without Ginn’s heroics against the Jets in 2009, the Dolphins would have been a 5-11 team.

Keep on writing in your fantasy world, Armando and if you ever want debate Jets/Dolphins, I’d love to make an appearance on your radio show.

Did You Win This Battle, Sean?

NFL Week 4 Recap/Jets vs. Dolphins First Look

First a few updates:

1. The Jets actually jumped up a spot to number 5 in ESPN’s Power Rankings despite their 14 point loss to the Saints. Their defense made a strong statement to the rest of the league that they are one of the elite groups in the NFL, regardless the offense has something to prove these next few weeks.

2. The trash talking has begun this week, courtesy of Dolphins linebacker Akin Ayodele discussing the Rex Ryan/Channing Crowder feud in the off-season, “Their head coach really blew the fire even more this offseason with Channing and both of them going back and forth. How does a head coach, why would you even try and go with words, you know battle with a player. That to me doesn’t make any sense so yeah, the animosity is there, the hatred is there. You know there’s no love, It will feel great once we put that whooping on them”.

3. MLB Playoff Predictions? Twins over the Tigers tonight. Yankees over the Twins. Red Sox over the Angels. Dodgers over the Cardinals. Phillies over the Rockies.

NFL Week 4 Recap/Jets vs. Dolphins First Look

Wrapping Up Jets/Saints

Defensive Player of the Game: Darrelle Revis – Another lockdown effort by the Jets corner, who held Marques Colston without a reception when he covered him. On the day, Revis only allowed one reception for 14 yards to Devery Henderson and also collected three passes defensed along with doing a strong job in run support.

Offensive Player of the Game: Shonn Greene – Why Shonn Greene who only had 4 carries for 23 yards? The reason is because his production provided some extra motivation for Thomas Jones who started out with 6 carries for 12 yards, and then after Greene took a series from him, came back with 8 carries for 37 yards and a touchdown. Hopefully, Greene will be healthy for this week and provide another weapon for the Jets rushing attack and keep Jones on his toes.

Honorable Mentions: Jerricho Cotchery for having another strong game…Alan Faneca for some superb run blocking…Bryan Thomas for a productive, all-around game…Dwight Lowery for holding his own as the Jets starting corner the past two weeks…David Harris for racking up 12 tackles…Kerry Rhodes for piling up 8 tackles and a key pass defense.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – The Patriots scored a big victory over the undefeated Baltimore Ravens at home. They were aided by a few ridiculous roughing the passer penalties and a key drop by Mark Clayton on the Ravens final drive, but a win is a win. Also, Tom Brady appears to be looking like his normal self again. New England has another tough task this week, as they travel to Denver to face the undefeated Broncos.

Buffalo Bills – Yuck, what an embarrassing performance by the Bills in Miami who appear to be quitting on their coach. The Dolphins ran all over them and Trent Edwards and the rest of the Bills offense looked awful. The good news? They get to face Eric Mangini and the Browns this weekend.

Miami Dolphins – They got their first win of the season over Buffalo, who didn’t put up much of a fight. The Dolphins continued to run the ball successfully but let’s see what happens when a team stops the run and Chad Henne has to complete some passes for them to move the football.

TOJ Top Five

  1. New York Giants – They will roll over Oakland this weekend and head to New Orleans at 5-0.
  2. Indianapolis Colts – Their offense is scary good right now, even without Anthony Gonzalez.
  3. New Orleans Saints – Big play defense to match their big play offense.
  4. Minnesota Vikings – Let’s see how Favre holds up into November/December.
  5. Denver Broncos – Their defense is legit…chance to make statement against NE this weekend.

TOJ Bottom Five

  1. Oakland Raiders – JaMarcus Russell is terrible.
  2. Kansas City Chiefs – They showed some fight in the 2nd half against Giants but lack talent to compete.
  3. Tampa Bay Bucs – Josh Johnson at least let them be competitive on Sunday.
  4. Cleveland Browns – Good effort against the Bengals.
  5. St. Louis Rams – Wow…I think losing by less than 20 is a victory for them.

Jets vs. Dolphins First Look

The Opponent: Last year’s Cinderella story got a healthy dose of reality the first three weeks of the season with losses to the Falcons, Colts, and Chargers. They did respond with an impressive win over the hapless Bills last week, to move their record to 1-3. Chad Henne will be making his second career start against the Jets (Rex Ryan is salivating more than he does over a fresh pie of pizza). Miami relies on their rushing attack led by Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Regardless, their gimmick based offense didn’t work in playoffs against Ryan last year and the Jets defense is better than any unit they faced this season. Miami had plenty to say about Ryan and the Jets this off-season, so let’s see if they can back their words up or if they are in over their head against an opponent with more talent.

Miami Dolphins Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarerback: Chad Henne – 24/41, 207 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • Running Back: Ronnie Brown – 72 carries, 369 yards, 4 TD’s
  • Running Back: Ricky Williams – 50 carries, 248 yards, 2 TD’s
  • Running Back: Patrick Cobbs – 5 carries, 37 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Ted Ginn Jr – 14 receptions, 138 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Devone Bess – 20 receptions, 157 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Greg Camarillo – 11 receptions, 86 yards
  • Wide Receiver; Brian Hartline – 6 receptions, 53 yards, 1 TD
  • Tight End: Anthony Fasasno – 4 receptions, 18 yards
  • Left Tackle: Jake Long
  • Left Guard: Justin Smiley
  • Center: Jake Grove
  • Right Guard: Donald Thomas
  • Right Tackle: Vernon Carey

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Kendall Langford – 10 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive Tackle: Jason Ferguson – 6 tackles
  • Defensive End: Randy Starks – 8 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive End: Phillip Merling – 8 tackles, 1 sack
  • Outside Linebacker: Joey Porter – 6 tackles, 2 sacks
  • Inside Linebacker: Channing Crowder – 14 tackles
  • Inside Linebacker: Akin Ayodele – 16 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Jason Taylor – 8 tackles, 3 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Cameron Wake – 6 tackles, 3 sacks
  • Corner: Will Allen – 16 tackles, 2 INT’s – 6 tackles
  • Corner: Sean Smith – 7 tackles
  • Corner: Vontae Davis – 3 tackles, 1 INT
  • Safety: Yeremiah Bell – 28 tackles
  • Safety: Gibril Wilson – 17 tackles

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kicker: Dan Carpenter
  • Punter: Brandon Fields
  • Kick Returner: Patrick Cobbs
  • Punt Returner; Devone Bess

Key Players: Ronnie Brown is their most dangerous player on offense, especially out of the Wildcat formation. Devone Bess and Greg Camarillo are decent possession receivers. Tedd Ginn Jr has big play capability. On defense, they have a variety of pass rushers including Joey Porter, jason Taylor, and Cameron Wake.

Injuries: Joey Porter is recovering from an injury and missed last week. Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland have missed the past two weeks, but should be back. Damien Woody has a bad ankle but is expected to play.

Early Story Lines: Channing Crowder vs Rex Ryan…Mark Sanchez bouncing back from his first bad game…Jets/Dolphins rivalry…How the Jets respond to their first loss of the season…Calvin Pace returns from his suspension.

Dolphins/Bills Highlights