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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
I Hate The Jets.
There. It's simple as that. I just can't stand them. The old farts retire in Florida, and they come into our state and try to take over our stadium. I hate hearing the J-E-T-S chant. The best way to shut them up is to beat them. Sure, the Bills kept Dan Marino out of the Super Bowl (although that can be laid at a certain defensive coordinator's feet), and the Patriots are irritating, but there is just something about that Gang Green color that makes me want to wretch.
All in all it's been a great rivalry and hopefully we do what all the media experts are predicting us to do and win this game. Jets fans are hoping for a 4th straight win in Miami where they seem to always get back on their feet. ESPN analyst, Rich Cimini, who covers the Jets for ESPN had this to say about the game this morning:
Same old Dolphins? Regardless of the circumstances, the Jets always seem to bring their A game against the Dolphins, especially in South Florida. They've won three straight in the Sunshine State, plus last year's meeting in London. The Jets' last road loss in this series was Jan. 1, 2012, the day of the infamous Santonio Holmes-Wayne Hunter scuffle in the huddle. The Dolphins (3-4), under new coach Adam Gase, are feeling pretty good about themselves. They have a two-game winning streak, coming off a bye, but they usually turn to mush against the Jets. We'll see if they've changed at all.
Bite me, Cimini.
How To Beat The Jets.
The Jets are one of the best defensive teams this year to defend the run, but they rank nearly dead last against the pass. Teams are finding the going much easier to pass the ball than to charge through that stingy front four of theirs. And, that secondary has been giving up the deep ball with regularity.
I think we should continue what we have done the past two games and try to dictate the game by running all over them and wearing them out up front. Let's not get too cute. One reason why we cannot run the ball late in games is because we get too pass-happy and the opponent's defense is still fresh in the 4th quarter. We have to convert 3rd downs to keep their defense on the field.
So, it doesn't really start with Ajayi or Tannehill ... it starts with our offensive line. In our last game the Offensive Line dominated a very good Bills defensive line. We have to do it again. Since it is the halfway point of the NFL season, let me share with you PFF's stats with you on our offensive line, and you will see how well our starting 5 have been playing.
Bushrod is our weakest link on our OL at the RG position, but with Pouncey beside him and Ja'Wuan James stepping up his game at RT, Bushrod had his two best games of the season the last two weeks. People want to always find a reason to trade Pouncey, but get it in your heads that he is the leader of our offensive line. He sets the tone, and his attitude is contageous. There is a big reason why our offense has all-of-a-sudden "Clicked" the past two weeks. The offensive line is balling which means that we are winning the time of possession and we are keeping our defense fresh (and our secondary off the field - thank you!).
Let's hope that the Tanne-thrill version of TANNEHILL TANNEHILLshows up, because there is a big chance that Coach Gase will be looking to call his number on special plays that they've worked on during the bye week. With the Jets focused on stopping the run, they should leave themselves wide open in the secondary. No one is even talking "Revis Island" anymore but about his retirement.
The Step-It-Up Team.
One thing you have to like is the motivation strategies of Coach Gase and Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph. They are actually honest and intelligent, and they are pushing the right buttons. Players that do not step up are given a warning face-to-face, given a warning in the press, and then are benched in favor of the backup. The crazy thing is that it is working and those that are benched do not have anything bad to say to those coaches. If they start to step it up in practice then they will get more snaps in games. That shows a good relationship between coaches and players which is something that Coach Philben did not have. He did not have a clue how to deal with players.
Anyways, the following players need to step up their game, because they will be hitting the road next year if improvements are not made. Bushrod is all ready showing improvement, but he was just a one year free agent band-aid. The other players ... well, Tannenbaum is feeling the heat for another playoff-less season.
What I hated about Philben was his refusal to deal with problem players. We will face one of those players this week in Jets WR Brandon Marshall. I was in the camp that we should have kept him. Sure, he had his childish moments, but he was working on his problems for the first time in his career before Philben was hired. He actually came out and admitted to his problems and said that he was dealing with them with doctors. So, think of Phiben when you see Brandon Marshall catch a couple deep touchdown passes. With his feud with Bryon Maxwell, let's hope that Maxwell again keeps him in check as he did last year when he was with the Eagles.
What a Name: Bacarri Rambo.
The Dolphins signed safety Bacarri Rambo last week in the hopes of helping out at the safety position due to the loss of Reshad Jones. You can't replace greatness, and that is exactly what Reshad Jones is. If you have to replace Reshad Jones then why not replace him with a guy named Rambo. Rambo has the ability to intercept the ball, force fumbles, and sack quarterbacks. Unfortunately, he is undisciplined and makes an incredible amount of mistakes. We are rolling the dice with him on every play. That is why the former 6th round pick was watching the games just as we were a couple weeks ago: on the couch at home.
I am excited about the addition as I feel there is untapped potential with Rambo. He was 2nd/3rd round talent that fell in the 2013 draft to the 6th round due to two failed drug tests at the University of Georgia (incidentally, he took over for Reshad Jones once Jones went Pro). The Redskins named him their starter as a rookie but quickly benched him. Now, listen to this: one year ago he had the best game of his NFL career against the Jets. Let's hope for a repeat.
On November 12, 2015, Rambo contributed significantly during a Thursday night win against the New York Jets. Rambo forced two fumbles, one of which was returned by Duke Williams for a touchdown, the other recovered by Rambo himself. Rambo also had the game-sealing interception off of Ryan Fitzpatrick with less than a minute remaining in the 22-17 win.As a result of his performance in Week 10, Rambo was named AFC defensive player of the week. (link)
New iPhone/iPad Wallpaper.
I was thinking this week that I needed a new wallpaper for my iPhone/iPad. What better way to honor the the fourth running back in NFL history to record back-to-back 200 yard rushing games than to create a wallaper of him. Enjoy!
Let's face it. We're as fickle as they get. We praise the coaches and players with glad adulations one week and rip them and call for their heads after the first bad loss. We're prone to emotional over-reactions and knee jerk reactions. It's what we do, at least many of us. We're football fans. Wins like the one we just enjoyed watching against the Bills have brought the word "playoffs" back into the forums, where just a couple of weeks ago posters were warning us that we would likely not win another game this season. It's a roller coaster ride, one that one poster complained was making him "sea-sick".
My more cynical side tells me that the last 2 weeks are just another tease like we have seen so many times before as Dolphin fans. That is a perfectly reasonable warning, too. History would tell us that it is foolish to put too much faith in a mini-streak like we have just experienced. The wheels will fall off as soon as... an offensive lineman gets injured, or Cam Wake wears out, or opposing defenses figure out how to scheme against the zone blocking scheme that has turned Jay Ajayi into a fantasy football darling. It's not only understandable, it's reasonable to feel a little "queezy" about trusting this team to do any more than tease us with the blatant lack of depth at so many places on our roster.
So with all that reasonable skepticism acknowledged, let's think of a few reasons why we can reasonably hope for more. More than just status quo. More than a finish of somewhere between 6 to 9 wins per season. More than we've seen over the last decade or two.
1. Topping the list of reasons why I think we can reasonably hope for more is what I have seen in Adam Gase. He has made mistakes, and his teams were poorly prepared to play in their losses. I hold him accountable for a lot of the bad decisions made early in the season. BUT. He shows the kind of leadership needed to get beyond mediocre. He also shows the kind of flexibility to set aside his preconception of how his offense would be implemented and adjust to the talent, comfort level and skills of the players he has. He listened to his offensive linemen when they implored him to stick to the running game, and that has made the team relevent again, at least for the moment.
2. Jay Ajayi. Yes, we know our O-line can be VERY good when the starting five are all out there. And as long as that lasts, we can feel confident in almost any matchup that we can be competitive. But regardless of the line play, none of us knew what we really had in Ajayi until two weeks ago. This is the guy the team thought they were getting when the drafted him last year. A dominant, downhill physical runner that has a very good first burst through the line. He is a guy we can build around on offense, IF he can play consistently at this level and IF he can stay healthy. Man, was he awesome last week. That 53 yard run from inside the Miami 5 yard line was the prettiest run I've seen by a Dolphin since Ricky Williams (pre-retirement).
3. Vance Joseph. Nobody earned more criticism in the first 5 games in my opinion than Miami's defensive coordinator. The "wide 9" defense seemed to be failing. We didn't seem to have the linebackers needed to make his scheme work. But against the Steelers and Bills, (two teams with very good running games) we held up well. The personnel changes and subtle adjustments in game plans have the defense moving in a good direction. If he continues to be willing to adjust and tinker with the packages and personnel groups, maybe we can see this defense play the way we all hoped it would. I'm not ready to annoint him as anything yet... just saying that I've been encouraged with the play of the defense and the game plan we brought to the last two games.
This formula... pound the rock with our suddenly elite offensive line and beast mode Ajayi, let the quarterback make the occassional big play and limit turnovers, eat up the time of possession and play tough, physical defense is one we can win with as long as the line holds up. The next stretch of games is extremely winnable. So, Adam Gase, is our new hope in this season well placed, or is it just more fool's gold? There's work to be done, like cutting down the penalties and incorporating some of the players coming off of the PUP list. But one thing is for sure... it's sure nice going into our bye week after a win like we just had, on a 2 game streak and playing more physically than any team we have fielded recently. It's enough to make us dream for 2 weeks of embarassing the Jets by running the ball down their throats and returning Fitzpatrick passes for pick-sixes.
That's enough to inspire hope in even the most jaded cynics.