Before we get down to business Dolphins fans, try to absorb the fact that this 2016 Miami Dolphins team was left for dead at 1-4, but fought hard all season long, often without many starters and managed to win 10 games and finish 10-6. Quite an accomplishment that cannot be diminished whether we lose by 1, or lose by 24. Adam Gase looks like the HC of this team for a long time, and that means we should be relevant for quite some time. Enjoy the fact that we’re playing Sunday, hopefully this magic ride continues with a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. GO DOLPHINS!
Q – 1%?
That means that we have a better chance of catching a communicable disease than winning the AFC? (Though we might have that covered already?)
I don’t agree!
But what are your thoughts?
It’s disrespectful, but pull yourself away from being a Dolphins fan for a second. We were 4-2 in the division, which means we took care of the Bills and the Jets, but what did we do against the Patriots? 0-2, and although we came back in both games, it’s clear NE was just cruising along. If we find a way to beat the Steelers this weekend, we will play the Patriots again. Rightfully so, the Patriots are the favorite to get into the SB from the AFC. We would have to beat the Patriots in their house, after they had a 1 week rest. Not impossible, but if the Steelers are a 10 point favorite this week, I’d say the point spread against the Patriots would be 2 TD’s +.
That’s my 1st reason for understanding the 1%. I love our team, but we’re a severely faulted team. We only do one thing well, and for the most part, we don’t even do a lot of things as well as average. On offense, we’re #26 in passing. We are a top 10 rushing team at #9. We’re #17 in scoring on offense. On defense, we’re #31 in yardage allowed. We’re #15 in passing yards allowed, but that’s a bit skewed, considering teams can and have just run on us all day. We finished #32 in the NFL against the rush, allowing a staggering 2247 yards rushing.
On special teams, we’re dead last in field goals made with 16 made, and only 3 teams have either equal or worse percentage made than the Dolphins. We’re #4 in kick return average at 25.1 yards per return. We’re 13th in punt return average at 9.1 per return. On defensive special teams, we’re #7 on kickoffs, allowing only 21.7 yards per return, and on punts, we’re also #7 on punt returns defense, allowing only 8.1 yards per return.
Ok, getting the stats out of the way, we have to travel to Pittsburgh missing many of our starters, most likely the list including our starting QB Ryan Tannehill. At the time of this writing, Tannehill missed practice today. They’re going to decide as to whether he practices tomorrow, and then if he does, it’s all about his ability to move well. It’s a longshot this week that he plays, but I like that they’re being cautious.
Does all this mean I think we have no shot with Moore at QB, and Byron Maxwell, along will many others out this week to beat the Steelers? No way! I do think we can beat the Steelers, but I don’t think there are various ways, I think there’s one way. Ajayi has to at least be a factor in this game. He doesn’t necessarily have to gain 200 yards, or maybe even 100, but he needs to be near 100, and hopefully, he has more than 20 carries. We need to have some time of possession. If Ajayi has some success in the game, and Moore doesn’t turn it over more than once, I think we can win this game. On the other hand, if I was a betting man, and somehow we do get by Pittsburgh, I wouldn’t bet on MIA against the Patriots, so yeah, I can kind of understand the 1%, as annoying as it is.
Q – I know there are still the playoffs but the end of the season is approaching so putting on your GM cap who do you think will be our notable losses from the roster this offseason?
I think there are really just a few guys we need to try and keep here, but most of the the players that will be UFA’s, I think we let go. Jordan Cameron, Jelani Jenkins and Donald Butler, are all gone IMO. Dion Jordan is complicated, because we may still have control of him somehow, I’m not positive, but odds are he’s finally gone as well.
So who do we want to keep? Not necessarily in this exact order, Kenny Stills, Dion Sims, Andre Branch, Jermon Bushrod and Spencer Paysinger. Kenny Stills is likely the most important guy on offense, and Andre Branch on defense. Sims really came on towards the end of the season, and he’s always been a solid blocking TE, so he’s likely back here. Paysinger is a very good ST’s player, but exposed having to play LB in this defense. he should remain as a special teamer. Branch has had his best season as a DE, and he did well for us. He’s not a pass rushing monster, but he can tackle, and he did get 5.5 sacks. I’d love to have a pass rushing monster to replace him with on passing downs, but either way, I want Branch back.
OK, to get specific now as to who we do lose, because after all, that was the question! Let me get this out of the way Ken, it WON’T BE MAXWELL! lol
I think it’s unlikely that Stills get too expensive for us to keep, but hey, it’s free agency, and teams throw silly money around, and maybe some team does that, so I’ll say Stills could be one of the bigger losses. Andre Branch is another candidate to get hit with silly money. Stills is still very young, he’s only 24. Branch is a little older at 27. It’s less likely for Branch to get a ridiculous contract offer than Stills, because Stills is only 24. I think we will do our best to keep Stills, but he would be a tough loss.
Kiko Alonso is a RFA, so we basically have control. We will give him the highest tender, and may possibly try to sign him to a multi year deal. Either way, I think Alonso is in MIA next year, he loves the community here, so he’s here to stay. Damien Williams is also a RFA, and I think we’ll keep him as well.
Q – Hey Mike…Why do we drive on Parkways and park on Driveways? Why does inflammable and flammable mean the same thing?
Can the Fins advance past Pittsburgh if we can contain AB, but Leveon has his typical big day? If not, how do you game plan for their big 3 (Ben, AB and Bell)?
Jahn the Phisherman
I’m confounded by the first 2 questions. Inflammable? Flammable? Is our offense flammable? Our defense inflammable? Yes on both?
If we allow Bell to go off, it could be ugly for us Jahn. I think the scenario where we can win that way is if Ajayi also goes off, and instead of a 35-31 game, it’s more like a 23-20 game and we’re in it. Pittsburgh has a lot of other guys that can make plays, but ya know what, so do WE! We need to win the turnover battle to win this one. If we can make one of those big plays on defense, or ST’s, we can take this one. Win like we’ve been winning. Find a way.
Do we get in a scenario where Franks has to kick the GW FG for us? That could be terrifying, especially if we’re down, and not tied. We handled Antonio Brown pretty good the first game, so you know he’s going to want to make things different for this game. We just need to stay close in this game, and we can win it. We can’t fall behind, or I think we’re doomed, because that effectively takes Ajayi out of the equation. It’s looking moore and moore that Moore will be the QB. Our O-line has protected Moore very well. He hasn’t been sacked in the 3 games he’s played against the NY Jets, the Buffalo Bills and the NE Patriots. That’s impressive. There’s really not one guy on the Steelers defense we have to worry about. They have 38 sacks on defense, but the leader is LB Bud Dupree with 4.5. DE Stephon Tuitt is 2nd with 4. For perspective, the Dolphins only have 32 sacks, but the Dolphins sacks are more concentrated. Wake leads with 11.5, and then Branch has 5.5 and Suh has 5. The Steelers spread those sacks around, meaning, they can come from anywhere, and Gase will have to have his team prepared for pass rushers coming from anywhere. Luckily, Moore is a seasoned veteran, and should be able to recognize quickly enough and get the ball out.
As fas as game planning against the Steelers, being disciplined, and staying where you’re supposed to be is huge. Bell isn’t a violent runner, but if we shoot the wrong gap, and leave a hole, he’ll exploit that. Cut back runs will kill us, so if we stay in our lanes, and of course, make the tackles, we can contain Bell. Brown is different, because he’s most dangerous when Ben extends plays, because he works very intuitively with Ben, and will work his way open, and Ben has the arm to get it to him. The answer to that is not to allow Ben time to do that. If we can keep Ben in the pocket, and bring him down, Brown shouldn’t kill us, as long as our coverage is sound.
Q – Oinks Human,
Why does mankind insist of giving the Dolphins a 1% chance to win the AFC? I admit I don’t believe we will go to the Super Bowl, but 1%?
Are we Dolfans being sensitive? Or is cheatriots love hitting some kind of extreme that we haven’t see before?
This seems to be very disrespectful. I tend to think some of the talking heads I hear have never watched a Dolphins game.
I think we win this Sunday and lose one of the next couple of games but that’s just Oinking between us.
Trotters and Squigglies,
The Pig With No Name
(An acoustic guitar playing is heard behind an angry pig)
I honestly think it’s Dolphins fans being too sensitive. We belong in the playoffs because we willed our way to winning 10 games. Some of them were uglier than ugly (Browns), and others were close (49ers), but it doesn’t matter, we won. Now that we’re here though, we’re subject to a lot more investigation, and when you look at this team as a whole, even with Tannehill and Byron Maxwell, it doesn’t measure up to the better teams in the AFC, such as New England and Kansas City.
If they gave us a 1% chance to beat Pittsburgh, I think we’d have a gripe. They’re talking about getting past NE and probably KC, which would be stunning. NE beat us twice, the 1st time with Garoppolo and Brissett, the 2nd time with Brady. In both games, we were blown out in the 1st half. NE lifted off the throttle a bit, and the end result was closer that it really was, but in the playoffs, there will be no lifting off the throttle. I’m not saying it will be a repeat of Jacksonville’s 62-7, but it may not be that far off. I could see us losing by more than 30 to NE in a playoff game in Foxboro.
Don’t get me wrong, I love our team, and I’m so thankful they gave us an extended season, and I truly believe that extended season can be extended even one more week after defeating the Steelers, but I think that’s likely where the Dolphins 2016 storybook season ends. I think it’s pretty realistic to say it’s a long, tough hard road for the 2016 Miami Dolphins. Going on the road, already missing many players and with a few that are playing banged up, to beat Pittsburgh at Heinz Filed, the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, and if that’s not enough, to most likely beat the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in KC. If I were an oddsmaker, I’d put us at 5-10%, and that’s just because I’m a Dolphins fan. 🙂