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Posted on: October 3, 2008 4:21 pm

Week 5 pre-game thoughts: Dolphins vs Chargers

I have to start off with the fact that 4 of the 6 Sportsline “experts” picked the Dolphins to win and I don’t like it. If it gives the Dolphins confidence then that’s cool(because regardless of what they say, they pay attention). I just don’t want the Dolphins or anyone else thinking that the win over the Patriots was anything more than one win. It’s nice that a victory of that magnitude may help give the team some confidence but as soon as a team starts thinking they’ve arrived then they stop striving to improve which is what I desire for the Dolphins.   What I can say about the Dolphin’s win is that it has invigorated me as a fan and given me some hope that they can win some games and improve for the future. I really wish they could have played last week vice having the bye to see if they could build on the win and use the emotion from the win constructively. Hopefully, they’ve used the bye to strengthen their base offense because gimmicks like the Wildcat offense are nice and sometimes very effective but you win playoff games by being good consistently on offense and defense. In the grand scheme of things, that’s all that counts. Winning Playoff games. That’s what keeps a coaches job.   Something that may surprise you and gives some Dolphin’s fans hope for the “upset special” is how bad the Chargers defense has been (at least statistically). They’re 28<sup>th</sup> in total defense and scoring defense and dead last in passing defense. They’re 13<sup>th</sup> against the run which should be Miami’s strength on a weekly basis. That #13 ranking was with Jamal Williams who is a mountain of a man and a heck of a run stopper. He didn’t practice thursday and is questionable for the game. It’s going to be interesting with 2 weeks to prepare how Sparano prepares for this defense. He attacked the Patriots aging linebackers with the run and it worked. It worked because he has one of the best pairs or tailbacks in the league. Do the Dolphins have the tools to attack this secondary? Do the Chargers have the weapons on defense to rush the passer? Merriman is gone and now his backup may miss this game. The third string guy did get a sack last week but I’d like to think our line is a little better than the Raiders.   The Raiders built a 15 point lead on the Chargers last week and couldn’t hold it. The Dolphins are a team that is much better suited to play with a lead than to play catch up. If the Dolphins get a lead, then I have to believe that Sparano has the smarts to attack this team on the ground and with short, high completion and force them to stop us. Keeping the Chargers offense off of the field is the key. Phillip Rivers is not Matt Cassell and LT is not Sammy Morris. It can be argued that the Patriots have better WRs and the Dolphins managed to keep them under wraps. One key is going to be keeping LT and Chris Chambers in front of them and not giving up the big plays they did against the Cards. These WRs are not as talented as Boldin/Fitzgerald but they’re pretty good. Another key is to stop LT early to prevent play action from becoming a problem and then rushing Rivers relentlessly. Chambers and Jackson can’t get deep if they’re hitting Rivers every time he drops back.   As a reasonable, thinking human being, the best I can truly hope for is that the Dolphins keep it close and have a chance at the end. As a Dolphin fan that’s gone through a couple of seasons of poor play and hopelessness, I’m hoping for another strong performance where the Dolphins stick to their strength (running the ball) and control the line of scrimmage and get another resounding win. Go Dolphins!
Category: NFL
Tags: Dolphins
Posted on: September 29, 2008 11:38 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2008 11:42 pm

Which Dolphins show up this week?

The Dolphins are just like every other team that's coming off of a bad year and is trying to rebuild. You're going to have ups and downs. The scary or exciting thing about the Dolphins is they've played three games with three dramatically different results. They kept it close with the Jets and could have won that game if they would have stuck with the run a little more and thrown the alley-oop to someone other than the short guy (Ted Ginn). The second game they got shelled by a very good Arizona offense who, in my opinion, has the best pair of wideouts in the league. They couldn't do much of anything right in that game. Thye blocked poorly. They ran the ball poorly. Their pass defense was horrendous. All in all, it was a game that Dolphin's fans would just as soon forget. Then the following week, the Dolphins put on a performance that gus us Dolphins fans some hope. They dismantled the Patriots. Sure, Brady didn't play but he's not the whole team. Right, Patriot's fan? The thing that was most impressive was that the Dolphin's offense made the Pat's defense look like the geriatric group that they are. Ronnie Brown looked like the beast he was before his injury last year and Pennington looked like the smart, accurate, intelligent QB that he's supposed to be. Even Ricky got in on the act and contributed over 90 yards on the ground. They outplayed the Patriot's in virtually every facet of the game and forced all the Patriot's fans to go to work the next day with thier heads hung low. Were their Patriot's fans before 2001? I don't remember any. That's why I always proudly tell everyone who cares to hear that I'm a Dolphin's fan so when they start winning again, they can't say I just climbed up on the bandwagon. Next up is the San Diego Chargers. Before the season started, I had the Chargers predicted to be the AFC's rep in the Super Bowl. Their Defense took a hit with the loss of Merriweather but, top to bottom, this team has a lot of talent. If they come out and spot us a lead like they did the Raiders last week, I'll be pretty confident about our chances. If our offense can keep our defense off of the field and run the ball like they did against the Patriots, I'll feel pretty good. San Diego has some good WRs but these guys aren't in the same league much less the same height range with the Arizona WRs so our secondary should have an easier time. The scary part is LT. We haven't faced a RB as talented as this guy. This is not Sammy Morris or Thomas Jones. This guy is a playmaker that can kill you from anywhere on the field. He can run, catch, and even throw the ball. He provides matchup problems that no other player can. If the Dolphins can keep him on the bench and our defense rested and put some points on the board then we can pull off another upset. I'm not naive enough to believe that this Dolphins team is a playoff team but they'll be exciting and they'll steal some wins and blowout some teams and lose some heartbreakers. It's an exciting time to be a Dolphin's fan as they'll get better every year because Parcells, unlike Dave Wannstedt, knows how to draft and use free agency to build a team. I hope all of the Dolphin's fans are as excited as I am and I hope in a year or so, we can get back to the way we were in the 70s and 80s when everyone dreaded playing the Dolphins. Go Dolphins!
Category: NFL
Tags: Dolphins
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