Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fins Bits: Carolina Panthers @ Miami Dolphins | Preseason Week 2


Talk of plagues, sporadic storms, fallen heroes and muffed punts made tonight's game a most apocalyptic affair. Thankfully, the second coming of the Wildcat staved off the locusts. Overall, it was a pretty decent showing for the Dolphins. Both the first team offense and defense looked solid. Even their understudies looked sharp. However, the special teams unit appeared to be the antithesis of its name.

Quick Hits:

The Second Coming
The wildcat is back to its old tricks. A year later, and the same old "gimmick" plays still appear to be as effective as ever - during preseason at least. As Bob Griese pointed out, the Dolphins reenacted a highlight reel of last year's most successful wildcat plays. There are sure to be some new 'Cat plays in the bag just waiting to be released once the games count for real. Now, can they gain more than -2 yards against a fast, heavy pressure defense like the Ravens? That's the real question.

The Fall of Return Man
Chris Williams went from hero to zero. When your only gig on the team is to catch kicks and run with them, it doesn't bode well for your job prospects when you try to catch the ball with your face mask. Williams muffed, Sparano got miffed, and for that, he may get whacked.

I think Williams has some talent as a returner. He definitely has the quickness and moves to weave his way through the chaos, but the most important aspect of the position is to ensure that the ball never ends up in the opponent's hands. Unfortunately for Williams, he failed on that count. Williams has muffed the ball in each of his preseason auditions. He might be receiving the Eric Green treatment soon to send yet another message to the team.

P-P-Pressure
I'm not sure if quarterbacks get to listen to music through the fancy radio equipment in their helmets, but tonight the Carolina Panthers' QBs could hear Freddie Mercury blaring through their head set loud and clear. UNDER PRESSURE! While there may not have been any sacks listed on the stat sheet, the dolphins were applying heavy pressure throughout the game causing the Panthers to make errant throws on several occasions. Jason Taylor, Channing Crowder, Joey Porter, Cameron Wake, Phillip Merling, Quentin Moses, Jason Ferguson and others were constantly in the backfield.

Vontae's Redemption
Looks like Vontae Davis and Chris Williams have been playing on the preseason see-saw. Gravity was kinder to Davis on this night. Davis recovered from a mistake-prone showing last Monday to redeem himself and show the promise that everyone expected of him. He made several solid one-on-one tackles on receivers in the flat and he covered his man well, not giving up any large gains that I recall. In Sean Smith's absence, Davis was able to possibly gain some ground on the competition for the starting spot. However, at this juncture, Smith still has the edge in the competition in my opinion.

BTW, Mr. Griese, with all due respect, let the kid celebrate his success. Griese was beginning to sound like Dennis the Menace's neighbor out there. As long as Davis isn't starting a Conga line and hiding Landshark beers in his pants to chug after each play, I am cool with a little bit of enthusiasm from the rookie.

Wide Receivers Immune to Swine Flu?
The cornerbacks should hang out with the wide receivers more often... Because they can't catch a cold! Ba Dum Dum! Ok, my jokes suck. But so did the receivers tonight. Almost every receiver had a drop - even the sure-handed Davone Bess. In fact, the running backs were the best pass catchers on the field. This unit has a lot of work to do this week.

Ronnie Brown Getting in Gear
Ronnie Brown looked in mid-season form. He was carving up the Panthers defense out of traditional formations and got some good work in orchestrating his patented wildcat offense. He also made a beauty of a reception and punched it in for the only touchdown of the Chad Pennington-led Dolphins. I am excited to see what Ronnie can do in his second year of this system. I just hope the front office locks him up for a few more years.

Tyrannosaurus Lex
Like the giant reptiles that once roamed in his home of Montana, Lex Hilliard was a force to be reckoned with. The former Montana Grizzly showed a surprising combination of grit, power and speed that could make it difficult for the Dolphins to stash him on the practice squad for the second year in a row. There will be some tough decisions to make in a few weeks. If Hilliard continues to impress, the Dolphins may opt to keep four running backs on the roster. Considering the fact that the Dolphins are a run-heavy team, especially with their wildcat packages, it may be in their best interests to keep the young back on the squad in favor of a sixth wide receiver.

Chad Henne Passed the Test
Coach Sparano swapped Pat White and Chad Henne to see if Henne could close out a game. Henne not only secured the victory, he did it in a precise and efficient manner that would make Chad Pennington proud. He wasn't perfect, putting two balls on the ground (which were thankfully recovered by Dolphins), but he lead the team down the field for several scoring drives throughout the second half. He picked apart the field in the same surgical manner that Dr. Pennington often does. There is still definitely some work to do, especially that quarterback/center exchange, but Henne looks very comfortable in the offense and should function efficiently should the Dolphins need his services at any point this season.

Next Week: @ Tampa Bay

Dolphins Out with the Swine Flu?

Reports out of Miami say that cornerbacks Sean Smith and Jason Allen will miss tonight's game due to illness and are currently undergoing tests to see if they have a case of the Swine Flu. However, Smith's agent stated that these rumors are incorrect and that his client is simply ill - like every day stomach flu ill, not the Porky Pig variety.

Whatever the case may be, this illness has left the remaining players in the secondary to re-enact a small scale version of Stephen King's The Stand. Now it is a matter of seeing if they will follow the light or succumb to the darkness.

UPDATE: Already, members of the media are suggesting that fans not attend practices or games out of fear of contracting the infamous Swine Flu. Hysteria or prudence? I vote hysteria. But then again, perhaps I will live to regret that when my neck swells up to the size of a tree trunk and I choke to death on my own mucus...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Catch of the Week: Sean Smith & Sexy Dolphins Fans

Now that the season is finally here, it is time to bring back one of our most popular features. Every week we will bring you the most spectacular catch of the game and and sexy gal for no particular reason. Shamelessly gratuitous eye candy.

The first "Catch of the Week" was to feature rookie Sean Smith's beautiful interception against the Jaguars, but sadly, I could not find a single video of that particular play. So instead, a video of one of Smith's most memorable collegiate interceptions will have to suffice. In addition, you will see an exclusive clip of a Miami Dolphins owner performing a scintillating quasi-striptease.

video

Below are some of the hottest Miami Dolphins fans found on the internet:







Eric Green Hits the Unemployment Line

When I mentioned in the preview of the Jags game that whoever made Troy "No Hands" Williamson look good was facing a demotion, I never dreamed that they may also be out of a job. But that is precisely what happened. Only two days after making one of the worst wide receivers in the league look like an all-pro, Eric Green was sent to the unemployment line.

The move is surprising in the sense Green was one of the bigger free agent acquisitions that the Dolphins made this year and they were so quick to dismiss him. Contrast that with last year's handling of Ernest Wilford whom they brought on to start at wide receiver and barely played a snap all year. In Wilford's case, it was evident he wouldn't be a big contributor to the team early on, however, he stuck anyway. Perhaps the investment in Wilford was simply too large to afford cutting him. Not so with Green, who was unceremoniously released following a single poor showing in the preseason.

The timing is curious. Why the hurry to cut a player at a position with seemingly so little depth? In my opinion, it was a move to send a message. Green played a terrible game against Jacksonville, allowing Williamson to make several big gains. Even the much-maligned Jason Allen performed better than him. With this move, Sparano sent every under-performing player on the squad an alarming message...

"Eric Green sleeps with the fish?"

Indeed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

HIGHLIGHTS: Jacksonville Jaguars @ Miami Dolphins Preseason Week 1

The debut of FinsFTWTV. Some highlights from last night's game. Check it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

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Fins Bits: Jaguars @ Dolphins


The first faux game of the season is in the books and the Dolphins have a lot of work ahead of them. Even though they did have some success on the field and came away with a much coveted W, there was still plenty of slop on the field - and I'm not just talking about the pig pen formerly known as the Marlin's infield.

I will have some more in depth analysis later in the week, but for now, these little nuggets will have to suffice.

Quick Hits:
  • Ricky was looking like Rikki-Tikki-Tavi out there slithering through defenders. Yoga does a body good.
  • I have a feeling that millions of Dolphins fans will suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following the aural assault that will be unleashed upon them throughout the season... Fins to the left, Fins to the right... Its been ONE game and I am almost going mad with this tune bouncing around my cranium. Throw in an auto-tuned version of one of the hokiest songs of all time, and its enough to drive any sane man absolutely bat**** crazy.
  • Fear the Reaper... and the Redzone too. The Dolphins killed a few impressive drives with stupidity, miscues, and missed opportunities. You know Sparano won't stand for this kind of crap in such a crucial situation. Look for a ton of redzone work as they prepare for the Panthers next Saturday.
  • Sean Smith, Mr. Fantastic. My pick for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Ya, it is probably the homer in me talking, but this guy looks good. He looked like the intended receiver during his picturesque pick in the endzone. One thing is for sure - he has put a super-sized stranglehold on the starting cornerback spot opposite Will Allen. It will take some pretty crummy performances going forward for him to lose it now.
  • Chris Williams looked Looney Tunes out there on special teams. Roadrunner. Speedy Gonzalez. Take your pick. Anything but Pepe Le Pew - well, maybe in the first quarter, but he got it going pretty smoothly after a few hiccups there. Kid's got wheels. But does he have enough to stick on as WR given the competition? Which brings me to...
  • The wide receiver competition is going to resemble an all-out MMA brawl pretty soon as guys near the bottom half begin to scramble for their lives. There will probably only be 5 spots for receivers on this roster. Ted Ginn, Davone Bess and Greg Camarillo should be safe. But that leaves Patrick Turner, Brian Hartline, Chris Williams and Brandon London battling out for the last two spots. That's some tough competition as each of them has been showing a lot of promise throughout camp and during the Jags game.
  • Ernest Wilford goes to... the Endzone? Yes, it happened. Your eyes did not deceive you. Bad news? ITS FARKING PRESEASON! Don't expect this to save his job...
  • Not bad, Chad Henne. He put together some nice little drives in there, although he did make his share of dumb plays too. But overall, he looked a lot more poised, even by preseason standards, than some of the turds the Dolphins have trotted out there in years past.
  • Pat White needs to bulk up. While he is as quick as a cat, he is as scrawny as one too. Like Mr. Bigglesworth of Austin Powers' fame scrawny... He will have to add a few pounds of muscle to that frame if he ever hopes to become a viable NFL quarterback.
Overall, it was a decent first showing from the defending AFC East champs. Now, they must work on cleaning up some of their sloppy penalties and improve upon the strides they made in this game for their next faux matchup against the Carolina Panthers on Saturday.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

FREE Wallpaper: Jason Taylor

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Fins Watch: 3 Things to Keep an Eye On Vs. Jaguars Preseason Week 1

As the Dolphins take the field for the first time in 7 months and 13 days (Hmm, any significance in those numbers, superstitious fans?), there are several story lines and positions worth monitoring as they gear up for the for-real games starting September 10th in Atlanta.

#1: Which player will rise up to claim the starting cornerback position opposite Will Allen?

Head Coach Tony Sparano has made it no secret that the "So You Think You Can Start?" sweepstakes is about to make its television debut and features a battle between highly-drafted rookies Vontae Davis, Sean Smith and veteran free agent acquisition Eric Green.

Unlike a largely scripted reality TV show, this competition will be won simply by the man who makes the most plays on the field and in camp during the next several weeks. The competition begins in earnest tomorrow night when each player will be given the opportunity to show their wares against opponents in a live game situation for the first time.

Outside of veteran Torry Holt, the Jags don't have many receiving weapons, unless you consider Troy "No Hands" Williamson a receiving threat, which this video surely proves otherwise. So this should not be much of a test for the trio of CB contestants.

If any of them allow for a big play by catch-challenged Williamson, they will face humiliation at the hands of a despondent British has-been on the judging panel. Wait, wrong show. They will feel the wrath of someone much more fearsome - Coach Tony Sparano. And likely a demotion as well.

#2: Is there depth at Nose Tackle?

In my opinion, this position holds the key to the entire season. If Jason Ferguson can remain healthy and effective, the defensive unit should be able to improve from last year's largely impressive performance to become one of the league's best. However, if anything should happen to Big Ferg, and no man is able to fill his massive shoes, the Dolphins defense could turn into leaky spaghetti strainer overnight.

The only insurance policy that the Dolphins really have on the dogged old vet is one of the last remaining artifacts of the Cam Cameron regime - Paul Soliai. At 6'4 and weighing in at an impressive 355 lbs., Soliai has the build necessary to man the keystone position on the defense. However, throughout his career in Miami, Soliai has remained an enigmatic presence. The coaches tend to break into song, performing a stirring rendition of Katy Perry's "Hot n' Cold", whenever they speak about the Samoan defensive tackle. He's hot and he's cold, he's up and he's down, he's in and he's out. If Soliai had wondrous cleavage like Ms. Perry, I might be more forgiving of his inconsistent performance, but alas he does not.

In addition to Soliai, the Dolphins hope that Randy Starks might be able to help fill the important role. Unfortunately, large sports utility vehicles filled to capacity with scantidly clad women are not eligible to assist him on the field of play.

Look for Soliai and Starks to get plenty of work tomorrow and throughout the preseason as the Dolphins will try to save the elder Ferguson for the regular season.

#3: The future of the Phins on display

Monday night might be our first real glimpse at the future of the Miami Dolphins - 2010 and beyond. Perhaps there is no more important piece of that promising future than one Chad Henne. Sparano has stated several times that Henne will receive quite a bit of work during the preseason in order to see how he handles things such as halftime adjustments and other dramatic scenarios that arise during an entire NFL game. Henne will receive plenty of work with the first team offense, allowing Dolphins fans to get their first real look at the offense of the future.

In addition to Chad Henne, the Dolphins faithful might also catch a sneak peak of Wildcat 2.0 or the WildPat / WhiteCat offense. It will be interesting to see if the Dolphins coaching staff will tip their hand during the preseason on how they might utilize their multi-purpose player, but the fans and media will be craving some kind of White Wildcat action. Even if he doesn't make his debut in the Dolphins' signature offensive set on Monday, White will see plenty of action at QB where he will likely play during the entire 4th quarter.

There will be a variety of rookies and young players making major contributions versus the Jaguars. It will be our first real look at players we all hope will become stars and major contributors for the Dolphins in the next few years. With exciting new players like Vontae Davis, Sean Smith, Pat Turner, and Cameron Wake to look out for, this should be quite an entertaining game for those hoping to see what the future has in store for the Miami Dolphins. Who knows, maybe VD2 might even make an appearance...

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So which player are you most looking forward to seeing in the Dolphins' first preseason game?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Out of the Office Until Tuesday

Fins FTW is shutting down for a few days as I have to travel up north to Big Sky Country to attend a wedding and visit with family. I won't be able to update the blog from up there. I still might be tweeting from my mobile if time permits.

Check out Tin's Fins blog for some great camp reporting.

I know this puts a kink in my training camp reporting, but I promise to have some great new content for you guys next week. I will really be ramping it up for the preseason and the start of the season.

For now, I will leave you with a word from the Miami Dolphins...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Miami Dolphins Training Camp Day 2 Round-Up

Sorry, no camp report for Day 2. Here's a funny video instead...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Miami Dolphins Training Camp Day 1 Round-Up

Miami Dolphins Training Camp 2009 opened with a splash. Fans swarmed the Davie practice field in a scene that was reminiscent of victory parade with thousands of dolfanatics flocking to the scene. Fans lined each level of the nearby parking garage to catch a glimpse of the proceedings. That loving feeling is finally back in Dolphin land... Can it last? Let's hope so...

Since I cannot physically be in Davie this year, I will try to compile some links to some of the best reports and pictures of each day of camp. Although, if any of you enterprising fans out there want to bring a webcam out to the stands and stream the sessions to me live, I would be happier than a pig in Buffalo.

I will also select the winners and losers of each day of camp.

Without further ado....

Day 1 Winner: PATRICK TURNER

By several accounts, Patrick Turner put on quite a show for the enthralled crowd. Being a receiver, it is crucial that he actually makes receptions - something that has been difficult at times for Dolphins' receivers over the past few years. At least for one day, this was not an issue for Turner who caught everything thrown his way including an underthrown pass from Chad Pennington.

Turner also juked a poor cornerback out of his shorts and ran the distance for a TD sending the oversized crowd into jubilation. Keep it up rook!

Day 1 Loser: CAMERON WAKE

Unfortunately, the "beast" as proclaimed by yours truly got handled by rookie 6th round pick Andrew Gardner who might as well have been a giant sofa come to life since Cameron Wake's ass couldn't get off him. I am still hopeful that Wake will turn things on as camp progresses. If not, we better hope Jason Taylor comes back with a vengeance.

Camp Reports:
Fan Camp Pictures:
[If you would like to submit CAMP REPORTS or CAMP PICS please email me at FinsFTW@gmail.com]

Saturday, August 1, 2009

ALL Draft Picks Signed!

I should have kept going with my original hunch. Ireland and Parcells DON'T **** AROUND when it comes to signing their draft picks before camp!

On the eve of training camp, Pat White and Chris Clemons, the remaining two unsigned rookies, got a visit from the "family" and got things inked and squared away in time to begin (what is sure to be) grueling Training Camp.

Keep posted for Training Camp reports throughout the next month.

Can you smell that? Ya, its a sweaty jockstrap. Football season is almost upon us!