Miami's performance on the ground in last week's convincing 35-13 win over the Oakland Raiders was the dream of every NFL running back as the team rushed for 263 yards on 43 carriers. Unfortunately for Daniel Thomas, he was not a part of it.
After suffering a concussion in the season opener against the Houston Texans, Thomas was forced to watch from the sidelines as his teammates ripped off one huge run after another. With the Dolphins' offensive line continuously creating running lanes throughout the course of the afternoon, Thomas could have very well had his first breakout game had he been on the field.
A now healty Daniel Thomas expects to return for this Sunday's anticpated divisional matchup against the New York Jets, however he finds himself in a similar situation from a year ago. In 2011, Thomas had a promising start to the season until being hampered by a hamstring injury midway through. His absence provided Reggie Bush with the opportunity to take control of the team's featured back role and as we know, Bush has never looked back. Thomas on the other hand saw a tremendous decrease in his overall production.
In week 3 of the 2012 campaign, there is now a possibilty that Thomas drops even furthur down the depth chart with rookie Lamar Miller making a strong case to be the Dolphins backup. Miller took full advantage of the chances given to him against Oakland, tallying 65 yards on 10 carries and adding a late touchdown. The fourth round pick out of the University of Miami also posseses a better skill set than Thomas and is certainly the more explosive runner of the two.
Although Thomas lacks in several aspects of the game compared to Bush and Miller, the fact that he is the best blocker in the backfield works heavily in his favour and may turn out to be the reason he keeps his No. 2 role for the time being. In order for Thomas to live up to the expectations of being a second round pick there is still plenty to improve on, however his top asset will prove to be beneficial to the Dolphins offense this season.
With Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller in the fold, Miami has one of the best running back trios in the league. If Ryan Tannehill is to be put in the best possible position to succeed this year, the strengths of these three backs must coexist.
For all the latest news and analysis leading up to Sunday's game be sure to follow @Phins_Phocus on twitter.
The rivalry starts up again this week as its Jets week this week. The rivalry comes with a little extra excitement this year as the Phins face off against former head coach Tony Sprano and head coach Joe Philbin and rookie QB Ryan Tannehill get their first shot at the loathed Jets.
Coming off last week’s win the Dolphins head into this game confident and excited. Coach Philbin said that the players have a little more bounce in their step this week as the excitement is hard to miss. Tannehill said everything picks up a notch for a division game and Reggie Bush said this is the type of game you live for, and love to play. Everyone seems ready to go for the Jets this week.
Daniel Thomas and Anthony Armstrong both said they should be ready to play this week meaning the Dolphins should have a healthy unit for this week’s game. The same cannot be said for the Jets however as Revis has not been cleared for play yet and Dustin Keller has yet to practice. Two huge injuries which would certainly help the Phins however it is only Wednesday.
Ryan Tannehill is in firs t a true test against the fierce Rex Ryan defense and he will have to play a nearly mistake free game as this Jets D is hungry for turnovers. Reggie Bush has been the motor of this offense but he faces a tough test against a strong defensive line and will need to be his best to help take the load of the rookie QB.
The Dolphins defense should be able to shut down the run as they have for 16 consecutive games but don’t be surprised if we see some WildCat and Tim Tebow. The Dolphins pass rush will need to have more success as Sanchez is prone to make mistakes when rushed and under pressure.
The matchup is pretty tight between these two teams as both bring solid defenses and a running game to the table. Coaching could be a big factor in this one as Tony obviously has the inside track on the phins this week. That being said I expect turnovers to be the deciding factor in this week’s game. Would also expect to see a lot of field goals which could mean some Sprano fist punch action.
This game should set the tone for the rest of the season, if Miami can get the W improve to 2-1 and get a lead on the division rivals the whole perspective and attitude around Miami might shift.no comments
The Stop and Go: Rivalry Week
Breathe in. Breathe out. And take three steps back. As a fan of the Miami Dolphins, it is another week for perspective. Yes, Sunday marked the first home opener victory since 2005, but the Miami Dolphins beat a very uninspired Oakland Raiders squad. Behind Reggie’s 172 yard day and a rush defense that held the perennial stud Mcfadden to 22 yards on 11 carries, (cannot wait to see Shonne Greene), the Dolphins deserved the victory. As Coach Philbin said: “we have a million things we need to work on”. More importantly, as I’ve just said: “it is another week for perspective”, and another week to Stop and Go forward. The real test lies with the Jets.
Stop: Full quarter lulls
Good teams are able to play well for a full 60 minutes and close out a game. What I hope does not become a trend this season is something I will call “full quarter lulls”. In the second quarter of Sunday’s game the Dolphins produced three consecutive three and outs and big fat donut on the scoreboard. The Dolphins offense needs to bring their A-game for a full 4 quarters if they’re going to beat even the Bourgeoisie of the NFL like the Jets.
Start: Sacks and Tight Ends
The Miami Dolphins do not lack a pass rush per say, but they lack finishing ability. This past week the Dolphins pass rushers managed…wait they didn’t even manage a single sack. On the bright side, they did amass 10 QB hits and 14 QB hurries. The pressure is clearly there, especially as Cam Wake manhandled Oakland right tackle Khalif Barnes into 6 of the QB pressures, just a sack never materialized. The impact play—loss of yards that gets your defense off the field. Strong side rusher Olivier Vernon has got to make an impact with his limited plays (he did have a crushing hit on special teams).
On the offensive side of the ball, I think it is time to get Michael Egnew into the game. So he can’t block; split him out wide Jimmy Graham style and let him make some Tony Gonzalez-esque catches. Fortunately for the rookie tight end, teammate Charles Clay’s 1 reception for 2 yards start to the season could land him on the field sooner than we all expect. Egnew could finally provide the seam threat that we’ve been lacking at the tight end position.
Continue: Get Tannehill Rolling
It seems that Coach Sherman finally decided to roll the rookie QB out of the pocket. It was immediately obvious that this is a comfort zone and major strength for Tannehill. Keep the pocket moving, disguise the bootlegs, and keep wide receiver Brian Hartline rolling with him. Can anyone say number one receiver? I sure hope not. Hartline has shown flashes as a dependable target for the rookie, but many follow up performances are in order, if we are to pin the label on him. On the comical and bright side, Brian Hartline absolutely abused, toyed, and mocked, Raiders corners all afternoon. It was like a carousel as they repeatedly switched up the coverage and continuously the ball found Hartline’s hands. The Tannehill-Hartline connection must continue to be deployed by Commandeer Sherman if the Phins hope for aerial success against the Jets.
New to this 1-week old column is the “Incognito” Dolphin of the week—that is to say a player whose individual effort has gone unnoticed but was highly impactful in this past week’s game.
The “Incognito” Dolphin of the Week is: Cornerback Sean Smith. Smith was thrown at 8 times (of 45 passes), yielding only 2 completions, and surrendering an opposing QB rating of 53.1. Smith defended two passes, including a key third down on an in route by Denarrius Moore, en route to helping his Dolphins to their first win.
As Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath once said, “If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?” So my Dolphins, when the Jets come to town and you’re about to take your quarter off, keep playing, don’t Stop, and Go all the way until the fat lady sings.
Until next week,
Well, sometimes honesty is the best policy. For one passionate Dolfan, Sean, it can also cause a raucous amongst the Dolphin fan base, media, and the Dolphins own GM and VP of everything football operations, Jeff Ireland.
Apparently, on Sunday, Jeff Ireland, on his way back to his seat during halftime had an informal meet and greet with fans. He took pictures, signed autographs, kissed babies, probably not the latter, but he was being a good ambassador of the Dolphins.
However, one fan decided to tell Ireland, "You should fire yourself." Ireland walked away and muttered a seven letter word: "a-hole" allegedly under his breath.
As if Hard Knocks needed to rear its ugly head on Sunday after a promising first half where the Dolphins scored on their first possession and then came up with 28 points in the second half.
For his part, Ireland apologized publicly via a statement to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald and the Dolphins released this statement:
"It did happen at halftime and I was going back to my booth after seeing my wife and I did talk to several fans that were very nice. But as I'm walking back this guy introduces himself to me and says I should fire myself," Ireland said.
"It caught me off guard. I just turned and walked away but I did say the word. I regret I used the word I used. I thought I was using it under my breath. I guess I kind of said it loud enough that he could hear it. I literally said it under my breath. At the time I felt I handled the situation pretty good. Probably muttered it a little too loud. I regret that I said anything."
Judge for yourself, but was it "you should fire yourself uttered by the fan" or was it go F-yourself. Nonetheless, things are starting to get mighty contentious in Miami between the fans and staff members. Of course, the players for the Dolphins probably just shrug this off and worry about their role with the team and scoring touchdowns and stopping the run and pass.
However, let us remember that this is not the first time, second time, or third time where fans have chastised Jeff Ireland publicly or privately or will it be the last. Remember last year's protest outside the Dolphins headquarters and years of displeasure of draft choices voiced on all radio waves and internet sites such as this one.
I guess it comes with the job description of being GM of a mediocre (being kind here) franchise over the past decade.
I am sure this ends up on YouTube via parody...Maybe that WAARF guy has something planned!
Return to @Phins_Phocus for the latest on everything else Miami Dolphins!
For the first time in a while Dolphins get to wake up smiling ear to ear on a Monday morning. Not only did the Phins get their first win in the Joe Philbin and Ryan Tannehill era but they did it in style with a huge 35-13 win over da Oakland Raiders. Despite coming into the game underdogs there was a strong sense that if the Dolphins played a well rounded game they could get the win in front of the home crowd.
That being said in order to get their first W, there were several players that had to step up and rise to the occasion. Today, I am going to cheat a little and instead of giving out one game ball I shall hand out a few to the key performers that helped Miami get the win.
- Bush who was coming off a decent week 1 performance looked angry and electric hitting every hole in sight and played like an elite NFL RB. Bush has 172 yards on the ground and added 25 through the air. It seemed every time Reggie touched the ball something positive was about to him. With help from the offensive line who looked improved and created holes, Bush is now 2nd in the league in rushing yards. Reggie had two highlight runs which should make plays of the week honors.
Listen to the crowd in this video as the chand Reggie's name after he broke up his big run.
Joe Philbin and Ryan Tannehill
- Both in their first appearance at home were prepared, cool and confident in leading the team to the first win of the season. Joe made several good decisions throughout the game and had Ryan working more out of the roll out which seemed where he was the most comfortable. Philbin was also smart enough to ride his stallion Reggie Bush while throwing in some Lamar Miller who in his first appearance as a Dolphins carried the ball well as showed definite potential. Bush and Miller should provide the Dolphins with a very strong 1-2 punch at RB.
- Ryan went through his second game without a turnover and found the end zone twice. Tannehill displayed his athletic ability on a couple of occasions being able to run the ball and roll out and find Brian Hartline on several occasions.
- Hartline’s 9 catch 111 yard performance might have been the biggest surprise of week 2. Setting a career high in receptions, it appears that Hartline has become Tannehill’s favorite target. We have seen flashes from Hartline but yet to see him break out as a potential number 1 or 2 WR. It appears Hartline is deemed to prove doubters wrong and be a big contributor in the offense this year. However we still have yet to see a WR that has the ability to stretch the field for Miami.
Bend don’t break defense
- The defense had a shaky first half as the pass rush was lacking and allowing WR’s to get open due to the lack of pressure. As the game progressed the defense got their act together playing as a unit. The run defense continued its dominance as this was the 16th straight game the Phins d has not allowed a 100 yard rusher. Dmac was held in check and the defense only surrendered 13 points.
It was a great overall team win where all aspects of the game were played well by the home team. The Dolphins even used the home field heat to tire out the Raiders which helped late in the game. This week was fun and it is nice to have the team back at .500 but next week is the real test against New York. Hopefully this Miami team can build off this win and use it as confidence heading into next week.
It was a memorable home opener in Miami as the Dolphins proved all the doubters wrong in front of 54,245 fans at Sun Life Stadium.
While all the talk before the game surrounded rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, Reggie Bush stole the show and picked up his first two touchdowns of the season. Bush's incredible performance ultimately turned a 3 point halftime deficit into a 35-13 rout of the Oakland Raiders. Bush wrapped up an impressive afternoon with 172 rushing yards on 26 carriers including touchdowns from 23 and 65 yards out along with 25 recieving yards on 3 receptions. Rookie Lamar Miller added his first NFL touchdown on a 15 yard run. As the Dolphins running game thrived so did the team's run defense, limiting the Raiders to 23 yards on the ground and no touchdowns.
Making his first start at home as a member of the Aqua and Orange, Ryan Tannehill completed 18 of 30 passes for an even 200 yards with one passing touchdown and a rushing score on the first drive of the game. Perhaps Tannehill's most impressive stat was his 0 interceptions compared to 3 from a week ago. All the discussion focusing on the tipped passes in the loss to the Texans was put to rest today as the issue no longer seems to be a concern considering that only one of his throws were batted at the line of scrimmage. Tannehill's athleticsm was also on display throughout the course of the game, using his speed to make plays as opposed to waiting for the play to develop. The improvements in Tannehill's game resulted in a 50 point increase to his QB rating from last week's loss as he finished with a solid 91.0.
Shockingly enough, the play of the Dolphins wide recievers was a decisive factor in their win over Oakland. Tannehill has developed much needed chemistry with one of his targets in the form of Brian Hartline. Hartline's performance was arguably the best of his career thus far and solidified his spot as the Dolphins top reciever with 9 catches for 111 yards. Davone Bess' 3 receptions for 43 yards proved crucial in keeping game-changing drives alive.
Once Tannehill threw his first career touchdown pass to tight end Anthony Fasano, the comparisons to the legendary Dan Marino began to stir. Coincidentally, Dan Marino's first career passing score was also to a tight end, Joe Rose. Both Fasano and Rose wore No.80.
Miami's most important stat is certainly their red zone efficiency. It was a refreshing change to see the Dolphins find the endzone five times while not having to settle for the usual field goal. Miami's ability to find the zone killed any chance for the Raiders to mount a comeback.
With 2 games played in the 2012 campaign, the Dolphins sit at .500 for the first time in over a year and are tied at a record of 1-1 with the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and potentially the New York Jets.
On the day both Ryan Tannehill and head coach Joe Philbin earned their first NFL victories, their is a unique sense of confidence in Miami. The win has instilled much needed belief into the fan base as well as the players and coaching staff.
Owner Stephen Ross said on the Dolphins win: "First of many. I think we're really on to something." We can only hope that his words prove to be true this season and that the team continues to fire on all cylinders in next week's divisonal game against the Jets.
Enjoy the win Dolfans, Phins Up!
Leading up to this weeks game, my colleagues have talked matchups in this weeks game Dolphins versus and Raiders.
Recently, I had the privilege and opportunity to hear from one of the bloggers that covers the Raiders for Bleacher Report and Raidersblog. His name is Chris Hansen and has been blogging about the Raiders for many years.
Chris was kind enough to share with us his opinions of the team that he enjoys and covers, so I asked him the following questions:
I found all of his answers quite revealing about both the Dolphins and the Raiders from positions, Tannehill's progress, and the head coaching battle on Sunday.
1.) What is the greatest strength position-wise of the Raiders? Is it the defensive line, corners or is it the quarterback or running back?
I think as a unit, the defensive line is a strength of the Raiders. Unfortunately the Raiders don't have much of a speed rush coming from the defensive end position. Darren McFadden is extremely dynamic and is probably the greatest asset the Raiders have on offense or defense. McFadden just changes the game in so many ways and he does everything well from running, to catching passes to blocking.
Carson Palmer isn't elite, but he's a good quarterback. He's certainly not as bad as some in the media have made him out to be. When Palmer is avoiding mistakes, he's surprisingly effective. Unfortunately making mistakes is something he has done a lot of over his career.
2.) What kind of an edge do the Raiders have at Wide Receiver versus the Dolphins corners? Does Carson Palmer have an awesome day due to the Vontae Davis not being there?
The Raiders certainly have some advantage if Denarius Moore is playing at 100 percent, but Oakland's passing game is more effective when the running game is effective. Palmer should have a good day against the Dolphins, but more because McFadden will be grinding out tough yardage and the Raiders will be able to set up the passing game from that.
McFadden is a weapon in the passing game and so is fullback Marcel Reece and combined they could really do some damage against the Miami. I expect McFadden to get more carries than he did on Monday night and Reece to be more involved in the passing game.
3.) Based on the Raiders history, which we know has not shown a great track record of drafting 1st round quarterbacks: What advice do you have for Dolfans who have witnessed one game from Ryan Tannehill and yet are expecting greatness?
Be patient. Rome was not built in a day and neither are good quarterbacks. The most important characteristic is not the ones you would think. If you want examples of what doesn't work take a look at the failures. JaMarcus Russell didn't have the work ethic and countless others lose their confidence because they don't have early success. There's a fine line between success and failure and most of these guys have the physical talent to be successful. It takes the right situation and the right mental makeup. Look at Alex Smith in San Francisco. He was left for dead by the fans and the damage done in his early years may have ultimately limited his development. It's hard to be patient as a fan, but the reality is you need to give a rookie quarterback two full year and even into his third year before you can make any determinations about him.
4.) Lastly, both teams are coming off of a loss and both teams feature a new head coach. What team has the edge in coaching?
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was the director or player personnel in Green Bay where Joe Philbin coached for eight years prior to becoming head coach in Miami. When McKenzie went looking for head coaching candidates he didn't interview Philbin. I don't know why he didn't interview Philbin and I don't think he would have survived in Green Bay for so long if he was a bad coach or gotten a head coaching position if he was a bad coach, but McKenzie saw something he liked in Dennis Allen. I'd call it a draw. I think Philbin is a very good coach and I think Allen could be a rising star and it will come down the the players on Sunday.
We definitely appreciate and thank Chris Hansen for his time and insight on the Raiders this week!
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