from O Rob
Q -Mike can you please elaborate on our Kicking game and as to why it blows chunks??
Not much to elaborate on really, just that our 5th RD pick from 2103 has been unreliable since we chose him over Dan Carpenter last season. In 2013, Sturgis connected on 76.5% of his FG’s, hitting 26 of 34. This year, Sturgis has improved slightly to 80% hitting 16 of 20. Sturgis is 100% inside 20 yards, (As he should be), 3 of 4 from 30-39, and 3 of 4 from 40-49, and then 2-3 from 50 +. The kid has the leg strength, but maybe not the intestinal fortitude.
For some perspective, and you’re not going to like it, Dan Carpenter has 2 excellent seasons for the Bills. Last season Carpenter hit 91.7 % of his FG’s, a very impressive 33-36, with 2 of his misses from beyond 50 yards. This year, Carp has continued his excellence, hitting on 89.5%, putting through 17 of 19 attempts.
To be fair, Carp wasn’t all that when he was here though. In 2012, Carpenter hit 81.5%, in ’11 it was 85.3, but his worst year was ’10, when he only converted 73.2%.
I think the rest of this year, Sturgis had better improve, or his job may be in jeopardy. Not sure you want to take this version of Sturgis to the playoffs, and have to rely on him with the game on the line. In his defense, his kickoffs have been very good, and most are either touchbacks, or in the end zone and run out, so there is that positive to consider. No matter what, he’s got to get better. Sturgis is tied for 6th in FG’s made for Kickers, but he easily has the worst percentage made of all in the top 10.
Q – With Detroit and Buffalo coming up, and the OL kind of in flux.
Is there a chance we go “bigger” on the interior to counter the DL’s we are going to face?
Move Pouncy back to center?
Put Colledge and Thomas at OG?
I don’t think so Wyo. They seem confident with Satele at C, and Pouncey at RG. Satele has played well this season, although I totally understand where you’re coming from. It was mentioned yesterday that Pouncey will be the guy matched up against Suh, although I don’t really get how that’s possible if the DL shifts. If the D-line shifts to the right, Pouncey will be out of the picture, but then I guess it would be up to the LG to help out. Plus, although Dallas Thomas is big, I don’t think he has the strength to compete with the bigger, stronger DT’s, especially a beast like Suh. We saw him struggle big time, and understandably against Gerald McCoy, so Suh will likely be much of the same.
My thought was if Colledge was still hurting, was to move Pouncey to LG, and put Shelley Smith, who is healthy back at RG. I hate to move people around a lot, but I think Shelley Smith is best at RG, and I’m sure Pouncey could play LG. Either way, if Colledge can’t go, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Smith back on the O-line instead of Thomas, either at RG or LG.
For the record, Suh isn’t really big for a DT, he’s around 310 but he’s strong as hell, and quick as hell too, so a tough matchup for anyone. Whoever we play on the O-line better bring their best for this D-line. Thankfully, DT Nick Fairley is out. In his place, the Lions will start rookie Caraun Reid. The rookie from Princeton has played sparingly in all 8 games, but has just 2 tackles thus far. Suh has 3 1/2 sacks, but Ziggy Ansah leads the team with 4 1/2, follwed by fellow DE George Johnson with 4 sacks. The Lions have a total of 23 sacks, 2 less than our Miami Dolphins defense.
Q – Okay, we just kicked the fuck out of SD. Do you think this team is emerging as a legit playoff contender, or are we sort of pretenders like many in the media still want to consider us?
Also, if we lose to DET does the media and fan base pounce on the team once again which is typical after losses?
I think this. If we play to that level, the level we played against SD, or even close to that level, then YES, we are a legit playoff contender. If we go into Detroit and lose 31-0, I think you know the answer. It’s not so much whether we bet the Lions, it’s if we compete, and look good losing, if we lose. This is a team we can beat. they have the advantage of being home, but we match up well against them, and we’re built pretty similarly. Besides Suh, I can’t say they have better players than us on defense. Ziggy is very good, but we have Wake and Vernon, who IMO are as good or better.
The Lions defense is #1 in yardage allowed at 290.4. We’re close behind at #3 with 304.6. Basically, a wash. We’re #2 in passing yards allowed t 201.1, the Lions are #5 at 216.4. Again, pretty even. The Lions are #2 against the run, allowing a stingy 74 YPG. We’re #12 at 103.5. There’s the disparity, so we have our work cut for us to get the run game going against the Lions D, especially with Lamar Miller banged up.
You know how it goes here, the fanbase is more Jekyll and Hyde than the team is, and I put myself on the top of that list. I’m reactionary, and emotional about our team. I think we’ll all know if we put up a good effort and lost, as opposed to playing a game like we did against the Bills or Chiefs. This is a big measuring stick game, as was the last. We measured up well last week, let’s see if we can continue the upward trend. I doubt anyone here will think we suck if we lose 27-24, or even 20-17 in a hard fought, well played game. It’s those games where it looks like we either weren’t prepared, or didn’t care, like the last 2 games of the season last year.
I hope we show up, and bring our A game. That’s all we can ask at this point. Win or lose, just play some good football!
Q – Mike,
As good as we looked on Sunday it was only one game and there is
always room for improvement. In your mind which unit on this team
needs to show the most improvement over the next 8 weeks to not only
make the playoffs but make a run at the big game?
As O Rob was quick to point out, our kicking game is not great. While Sturgis isn’t horrible, he’s a guy I’d be loathe to count on with the game on the line. He needs to be consistently better the rest of the way if he wants to be on this roster next season.
I’d also love to see the LB’s making plays. A lot of that has to do with the fact that we haven’t been able to have the same 3 LB’s on the field for more than one game because there always seems to be an injury. Misi played well last week, and I’d like to see more of that. He was a run stopper, and he could be huge for us against DET. If we can make them one dimensional, and force Stafford to pass more, and also, get pressure on him, we can make him make mistakes, which he usually does. Wheeler is a disappointment. He’s not a playmaker, and while he’s all over the field, he’s not an impact player. Jenkins looks like the one guy in the LB corps that might be different. Jenkins has 2 FF, and 1.5 sacks. Not special exactly, but I think he could be special once he adjusts to the NFL game. We need playmakers, and there needs to be at least one guy in the LB corps like that. This is a place I think we’ll be looking at in the draft early next year. We may be looking at 2 LB’s, depending on how and if Misi can finish the rest of the year healthy. With Misi healthy, I think that’s a unit will improve this year.
I’d like to see more of our TE depth. We saw a little bit from Sims, and then he gets hurt. He has 7 receptions in 14 targets for 116 yards and 1 TD. Gator Hoskins has 2 receptions for 21 yards. I want to see a little more from these guys.
I’d love to see more of our young CB’s too, but as long as Finnegan is playing well, you can’t mess with that. Still, I wish that either Taylor or Davis, or both were practicing so well that they’d have to be a bigger part of the defense.
Lastly, Ryan Tannehill. Not last at all as far as importance. He needs to be consistently better. While his rating stands at 90.9 now, he’s been really good in some games, and that has picked up his overall numbers. The majority of his games have been poor to average, but he has had 3 great games with passer ratings over 100, 109.3 against OAK, 123.6 against CHI and 125.6 last week against SD. Besides that, it’s been pretty bad, 79.9 against NE, 73.6 against BUF, 70.4 against KC, 83.3 against GB, and 73.3 against JAX. This is the most important place to improve IMO. If he continues to go up and down, so will our record. I’m not saying he has to play like he did last week against SD, but there’s no middle ground with Tannehill. It’s either poor to average, or excellent. I’ll take good to very good every game the rest of the way, and play to a 90-95 QBR each game, and I’m sure we’ll win most of those games.
Q – Hope this finds You and the fam well Mike, but I have a question or two,,,,
I find it exhilarating watching the new and improved Ryan Tannehill. His pocket awareness, reading receivers, read option handoffs and end arounds, efficient quick strike passing, and team leadership are a sight to behold for Dolphin fans.
But, You know me by now, i also think our running game is important.
Can RT carry this offense with Moreno out and Miller nicked against a strong Detroit DL? Will they just play dime packages and blitz RT, shutting down our offense?
And, sorry for this one, but, lol. Can We ever get beyond the ageless and immortal DT3?
Against the Lions, I do think Ryan Tannehill can beat them, even if we struggle with the run game. I wouldn’t expect even if Lamar Miller was healthy to really run all over the DET defense. they have allowed a 2nd best 74 yards per game, so even with a healthy Moreno and Miller, our work would be cut out for us. The big difference we have is Ryan Tannehill can, and will run against DET. I think the read option will help against DET.
We still need to run the ball, even if we struggle. We can’t just run 10-15 times, and hope Ryan can do the rest, that won’t work. We have to stick to it, try and run at least 20-25 times. In their loss to Carolina, the Panthers rushed 24 times for 62 yards. Certainly not successful, but they kept at it. In their loss to BUF, besides the Kicker killing them with 3 missed FG’s, the Bills ran and kept running. They rushed 22 times for 49 yards, awful, but still, they kept at it. You can’t just let the Lions pin their ears back and attack.
As far as DT7.0, who is actually down to DT3.7, I don’t think anyone expected him to stay averaging 7 yards per carry. Still, he’s on the team for the rest of this season, so let’s hope when we need him, he produces. It looks like they’re trying to get Damien Williams some more touches, but in his limited time, he’s worse than DT at 2.8 YPC.
Hopefully, our defense forces Stafford to being the mistake prone QB he can be. Stafford currently has 11 TD’s and 7 INT’s. Not very impressive, but not horrible either. Obviously, he misses Calvin Johnson dearly, and would likely have another 5-10 TD’s if he were healthy. Speaking of Calvin Johnson, he’s BACK! Optimus Grimes will have to blanket the big WR all day, and I don’t expect him to shut him out completely, but hopefully, we can keep him out of the endzone.
We also face your man crush Reggie Bush this week. Guess what? Reggie is averaging less YPC than DT 3.7!!! No way you say? Bush has 171 yards on 49 carries, for a 3.5YPC avg. He’s been hurt, as has DT, so it’s a wash right there.
Let’s hope Ryan and the Dolphins bring their best to DET, and continue to play hard for Coach Joe and for themselves!
Q – Dear Mike,
I was wondering since Lamar Miller is a little banged up, are you extremely
anxious at the thought of DTInfinity getting more carries? Do you feel Williams
should get more playing time then DT (I do)? Will we ever get rid of 3 yards
and a pile of dust? 😛
Thank you and welcome aboard the FMe train!
I’m concerned that Miller is hurt, absolutely. Our depth is kind of unknown at this point. On the other hand, if the boys up front are doing their job well, it’s not all that important who carries the rock. I’m sure, at least in the short term, if Miller can’t go, that DT and Damien Williams will be able to handle the job. Against this DET defense, I don’t expect to have a lot of success running the ball anyway, it’s going to be difficult even with Miller at 100%.
Like I said earlier, it’s just important that we stick to the run, and not try to win this game throwing 50 times. We need to mix it up, and also let Ryan take advantage of those times when he has running room. It wouldn’t be shocking to me if Tannehill led the team in rushing this Sunday. i hope that’s not the case, unless he runs for over 100 yards.
As far as DT, I’m at peace with what he is. He didn’t work out as a 2nd RD pick, we cut him. We re-signed him due to injury, and I’m sure he was humbled by the experience. He’s giving his all, whatever that might be, and right now, we need him. If Miller has to sit, I would imagine LaMichael James or Orleans Darkwa will be brought up to the active roster for depth.
As far as who deserves more playing time, I’ll go with the guy who’s getting the job done. If it’s Williams, so be it. I know DT is a decent blocker, so that always comes into play. I actually expect Miller to play though, and I’m sure, as usghe, he will be getting the majority of carries.
Gigi – It’s a pleasure to be able to work with you. I’ve met you when I’ve been to FLA for the Fest’s I was able to attend, and you were always the nicest, going out of your way, time and again to make sure everything went right for the group. So thank you for that, and all the time that you have dedicated to keeping this blog going since the beginning. I think with a little help, it will make your life easier, and hopefully it does. Thanks again for welcoming all of us to share your burden. I think. 😉
Q – We’re the latest hot team that the media guys are puffing up, but you know they’ll be dogging us just as bad if we fall even as they ignore the words they now write. Not the best teams (we all know about the Pats and Broncs), but what teams are you most worried can bring us crashing back to earth?
More than any particular team, I’m just worried more about ourselves. We’ve seen how we’re capable of playing, and it’s not like we haven’t done it against quality teams. We beat the Patriots, we had GB right where we wanted them, but let that one get away, and we thrashed the SD Chargers. So really, it’s more about us not playing up to our abilities that scares me the most
If I had to pick teams that can easily cause us to have a letdown, I’d have to say the Bills and the Jets. Those are always difficult games, and until we actually beat Buffalo, I’ll still feel like they’re a team that just has our number. We should be able to shred the Jets secondary, but you never know. So I’d say Bills #1, and Jets #2.
Before we get to the main reason why most of you (OK, ALL of you) stop by and check out my article, I just have a brief statement to make. As you know, Piggy and myself are the only ones at the moment contributing articles. It’s our (meaning all who read, post, or both) blog, and it’s nice to read articles by our own people. OD gave us the awesome Perfect Season series, and along the way, we’ve had some contributions from a few of you. It’s special to get that. Not that I hate a regular news article, I don’t, but I love reading stuff from from our own people
It would be great, and there is no commitment from anyone to do this on a regular basis, but if any or all of you could send in an article every now again, I think it would enhance the blog. I think we have a lot of good minds, and people with talent here, so a contribution of an article would be great to see. If anyone has a desire to send in an article, or even write a weekly piece, just let us know on the blog. Thanks!
And now for the cheerleader of the week . . .