It may have been difficult getting out of bed this morning for many of you Miami sports fans with the Heat’s collapse in the NBA finals still fresh in your minds.
But there’s no better cure for those wounds than getting back to some Miami Dolphins’ football, something that may be right around the corner as speculation is beginning to brew that negotiations between the owners and players are heating up and a resolution could be a mere couple weeks away.
The Dolphins, after all, are South Florida’s true love. Their mediocre run these past couple years and the media’s obsession with the Heat haven’t changed that.
Being number one in Miami wouldn’t be possible without some of the all-time franchise greats we have been honoring recently. Today, we’ve arguably saved one of the best positions on the entire roster talent wise for last offensively.
No, centers typically don’t get the credit they probably deserve and some of our younger readers may not even recognize the following names, but both centers on our depth chart are widely considered to be top ten players in franchise history.
1. Dwight Stephenson (1980-1987): Few will argue that Dwight Stephenson was the greatest center to ever play the game. For all the greats that have played for Miami, Stephenson is probably the only one who is legitimately regarded as the greatest ever at his respected position. You could possibly even make a convincing argument for Stephenson being the greatest Dolphin not named Marino.
The 1998 Hall of Fame inductee was selected to five Pro Bowls, five All-Pro first teams, was named to the 1980’s All-Decade team, and was honored with the 1985 Walter Payton Man of the Year. There wasn’t a defensive tackle in the league Stephenson couldn’t handle.
In probably the greatest example of how special of a player he was, Stephenson played a huge role in containing the ’85 Bears’ 46 defense, which schemed by attacking the interior of the offensive line, in the Dolphins’ classic 1985 victory over the Bears on Monday Night Football.
To make a long story short, Dwight Stephenson was truly a special player and the Dolphins were beyond blessed to have him in aqua and orange.
It may have been difficult getting out of bed this morning for many of you Miami sports fans with the Heat’s collapse in the NBA finals still fresh in your minds.
One win, seven losses. The Miami Dolphins home record last season, making them the grand prize winners in the sweepstakes for team with the least home wins last year. Wait there isn’t a prize for that? Even the Bills, Browns and Panthers managed to win two games in front of their loyal fans. So what pray-tell is the Dolphins big problem with playing in South Florida?
Is it the heat?
Is it the night life distractions throughout the week?
Did the team just fall on some bad luck last season?
I’ll go with answer d) none of the above. The Dolphins have trouble playing at home because the fans are not 100% behind them. When you think of NFL fans you think of Steelers fans with their terrible towels, you think of the dog-pound in Cleveland, you even think of the 12th man in Seattle... Seattle! The following article was written in 2008, but I think it is still relevant, ranking our fans as one of the worst in the league. The stadium is usually half empty, the fans who do show up shuffle in late, there is zero noise factor to distract the other team and the overall atmosphere is garbage. Where are the real fans?
Late last season, fans were booing our starting quarterback, and even started a “Henne Sucks” chant in the stands. I don’t want to turn this into a debate about Chad Henne’s ability to play quarterback, but the bottom line is that the fans need to stand behind the product that the organization puts on the field through thick and thin. We’ve been to the mountains and the valleys as a fan base, but now it is time to kick it into another gear. We need to show our team that we support them and show the opposing team that coming to Miami means more trouble than just dealing with the heat.
In the last five seasons only one team with a losing home record has made the playoffs (2007 New York Giants 3-5), four other teams (06’ Jets, 09 Cardinals (Doesn’t count because the NFC West is just so pathetic), 09’ Jets and 10’ Eagles) made the playoffs with 4-4 home records. The other 25 playoff teams had winning home records. A winning home record will be a key factor for the Dolphins this season if they want to make the playoffs, but they can’t do it alone. I am challenging the Miami Dolphin fan base to stand up and be counted, and to prove me wrong.no comments
I had the pleasure of doing a phone interview with NFL Network and FOX Sports analyst Charles Davis. For some of you who don’t know Charles (@CFD22) , he spent his college years as a defensive back for the Tennessee Volunteers and became one of the biggest voices in the football world. Whether it’s on NFL Network doing NFL Total Access, Path to the Draft, or on FOX doing play by play on Sundays, Charles is one of the brightest football minds out there.
I wanted to pick Charles’s brain on a couple of Dolphins and also general NFL questions. Below is my interview with Charles Davis.
Daniel Eliesen: What are your thoughts on Chad Henne? Can he be the guy in Miami?
Charles Davis: I definitely thought so two years ago, but now I am not as sure as I was then. I called a Dolphins game a bit back, it was a Lions game and Henne had a great 3 quarters but down the stretch he started to make mistakes and that’s when I realized he needed to get his act together a bit. I still think that he can start next season but the Dolphins will definitely have to consider other options, but I do think that Henne will take the steps next year and take the starting job.
Daniel Eliesen: With the progress of the Jets and the consistency of the Pats, how far away do you think Miami is from the division or even playoffs?
Charles Davis: I don’t think there that far off right now. In fact, I was talking to a friend of mine in the Jets organization and I told him I think that Miami is the team to watch out for. Solid running game, a Mike Nolan defenSe, the addition of Brandon Marshall and Cam Wake coming off the edge. There are a couple of pieces that they need to look into, like the running game and whether or not to bring back Ronnie and Ricky but a Mike Nolan defense in it’s second year should be very solid. There not that far off right now but Henne is obviously the key. I think their still in the mix, and it also depends if the team wants to get behind Sparano who is on the ultimate hot seat.
Daniel Eliesen: You’re very in touch with the college game. How do you feel Miami did in this year’s draft?
Charles Davis: Pretty nicely. I think they hit all their needs with quality players. Pouncey was a no brainer and Gates will give them speed and I especially liked the runner Thomas even if Ronnie and Ricky are back.
Daniel Eliesen: How often do you go home after a long day and just go DAMN I wish this lockout was over?
Charles Davis: Every day man, every day. We all do. We want it for all of us, for the fans, for the analyst, for the merchandisers, the hotel owners, the concession stands, everybody is getting hurt by this lockout. Football is a part of who we are.
Daniel Eliesen: You call games on FOX. How much work do you guys put in behind the scenes before each game?
Charles Davis: Well we get to the city on Friday, and we go to the home team’s practice, we speak to the coaches, the coordinators, and some players and then the team’s media people and we try and figure out as much information as possible before the game. We will also try and talk to a local guy we know and get the scoop, and as soon as we’re done calling a game right away we get started for the next week. We certainly put in our work.
Daniel Eliesen: Knowing that you’re a former Volunteer, does that mean your Manning over Brady?
Charles Davis: Well yeah, we Volunteers got to stick together, so I’ll go Manning, but I certainly wouldn’t shed a tear if Brady was my QB either. We got a saying though VOL for life, so yeah I’ll stick with Peyton.
Daniel Eliesen: Lots of guys come on the NFL Network, which player has impressed you the most with his NFL knowledge?
Charles Clay: The guy I work with Warren Sapp. His knowledge of football and of assignments and where to be and understanding of the game is amazing. I call him Professor Sapp. You wouldn’t think because he is a defensive linemen he would be so knowledgeable, but it’s amazing watching him talk football and the terms that he knows. I try to take it all in when he talks. So I could chose a lot of guys but Ill go with Sapp.
Daniel Eliesen: This is a bit of a fan question but do you ever sit there and just think I got the best job in the world?
Charles Davis: All the time. I try not to do it on air and to focus but when I am alone or I am tired or stress you just realize how great this job is. I have plenty of guys who wouldn’t mind being in my shoes.
Contrary to the product they put on the field in 2010, the Dolphins have actually produced some of the greatest interior lineman to ever play the game. Richmond Webb and Jake Long highlighted our tackles on Monday, but the real star power resides inside.
Let’s inch a little closer to finishing up the offense by ranking the top four guards in team history. Feel free to disagree or comment below.
1. Larry Little (1969-1980): While we’re on the topic of undrafted free agent success stories with our Davone Bess interview still fresh in our minds, let’s recognize one of the greatest undrafted players in league history. Larry Little went undrafted in 1967 before signing with the San Diego Chargers. The Dolphins came calling two years later, offering cornerback Mack Lamb for his services. The Chargers regrettably accepted and the rest is history.
Little was a dominant run blocker as he had the strength to provide excellent push and the athletic ability to get out and pull. Little played an enormous role in enabling Csonka, Kiick, and Morris to be the unstoppable three-headed monster they were. His career accolades include selection to the 1969 AFL All-Star game, 5 Pro Bowl appearances, being named to the 1970’s All-Decade Team, and most prestigiously, induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In the 2008 NFL draft, 32 teams decided to pass on Davone Bess seven times. Despite being a stand out WR for the University of Hawaii and a member of the WAC first team in both his freshman and sophomore year, not one team selected Davone in the seven rounds of the 2008 draft. After being signed as an undrafted rookie in 08, Davone was able secure a roster spot. Well a lot has changed since 2008. Bess has quickly become the number 2 WR in the Miami offense and one of the leagues best slot WR’s.
Bess racked up 79 catches for 820 yards and 5 TD’s last season and was the Dolphins most reliable source for offense throughout the year. For those of you fantasy football lovers out there, Bess is an absolute PPR stud.
Not only is Davone a stud on the field but off the field as well. Thanks to his manager Chris, I was able to set up a phone interview with Davone and ask him a couple of questions about many different issues. I want to thank Davone so much on behalf of Phins Phocus for giving us this opportunity. So without further a due, here is my interview with Miami Dolphins’ WR #15 Davone Bess.
Daniel Eliesen: I got this interview through twitter and the help of your manager; clearly you’re all over social media and feel it’s important to connect with your fans. So why is it so important to you to have this type of connection?
Davone Bess: Our fans are a part of who we are and people and the media can’t understand and appreciate the relationship players can have with fans. I appreciate my fans, and want them to know the guy under the helmet. I want them to know I’m just like them. I put one leg in my pants one at a time too.
Daniel Eliesen: A lot of fans don’t really care who started the lockout, they blame both the players and owners. So what do you suggest fans do this year if there’s a lockout?
Davone Bess: I can’t see this world without football. I could imagine there is going to be a lot of angry people out there including players. But I would just suggest to wait it out and hope for the best.
Daniel Eliesen: With all your time in the off-season have you worked on a TD dance yet?
Davone Bess: No dancing for me. I take this stuff seriously it’s like a business to me. But I do plan on getting into the end zone a lot.
Daniel Eliesen: How did you feel about the whole coaching search this off-season, did the guys get behind Tony?
Davone Bess: Up to this point we know Tony is the guy. I believe he is the right man for the job. He keeps us very structured and we’re looking to forward to this upcoming season with coach.
Daniel Eliesen: Have you been in touch with Henne at all?
Davone Bess: Ya man, I see him a couple a times a week. We make sure to keep the chemistry strong and work on routes and make sure our timing is good.
Daniel Eliesen: With Pennington most likely gone, who do you see stepping up as the leader for this offense?
Davone Bess: A lot of candidates, but I wouldn’t point to a guy and say you need to step up, more of guys showing by their actions. We have a lot of guys who have the qualities and are capable, but we got to come together as a team first. We’re currently a work in progress but I think we’re heading in the right direction.
Daniel Eliesen: Do you still use the fact you weren’t drafted as motivation?
Davone Bess: It’s my number 1 motivator. Not a day goes by where I don’t relive draft day, but I’d have to say I prefer this path because it always leaves me hungry and wanting more and to prove myself.
Daniel Eliesen: So I know before games you like to pump yourself up by putting on your headphones on and blasting to music. What music you listen to before game time?
Davone Bess: Lil Wayne, Drake, Wiz, Bob Marley, John Legend, I got a weird collection on my Ipod.
Daniel Eliesen: Which team do you enjoy playing the most?
Davone Bess: Every opponent is the same to me but I would have to say division games probably because you see the teams twice a year, and New England gets you fired up because you know what to expect from them.
Daniel Eliesen: Goals for the upcoming season?
Davone Bess: Every team is different every year. I always believe in shooting for the stars and the best will come from that. We want to win a Super Bowl obviously, but we got to start somewhere. Starting with the playoffs or the division would be nice.
Daniel Eliesen: So rumours are going around that Miami might be interested in Plax. What do you think about that?
Davone Bess: Honestly, if he can help contribute, and help us get to where we want to be then I don’t see why not but that’s not my decision. He’s a great player though. I grew up watching him. He’s a guy if you throw the ball up there he can go get it for you.no comments
Tomorrow is a monumental day for us here at Phins Phocus. Yes, we had the privilege of interviewing Charles Clay and Kory Sheets a couple weeks ago, and we are very appreciative of those two for sitting down with us. But Davone Bess is one of the league’s best slot receivers, a huge contributor on the Dolphins’ offense, and has a remarkable story to boot, going from a troubled childhood in California, to one of the nation’s most productive receivers in Hawaii’s run and shoot offense, to undrafted, to stardom in Miami.
Bess proved to be a real class act in his interview with Daniel today. I knew Davone was one of the league’s good guys, as he’s very active in the community with his charity organization, but my respect for him has grown tremendously with this interview. So it’s easy to see why we’re excited.
Make sure you check back with us tomorrow morning for the interview, but for now, I thought I would put together a few video clips in Davone’s honor to hold us over. If you haven’t seen the first clip yet, “Davone Bess Out of the Fog,” it’s a must see for any Dolphin fan. Truly an amazing story.
Former New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress was just released from prison today and speculation is already brewing that the Dolphins could be a possible suitor. Burress has family in South Florida and is rumored to have a strong interest in signing with the Dolphins. That’s where the connections between Plax and the Dolphins should stop and end abruptly in my opinion.
Besides the fact that he’s now 33 and has been out of football for two years, meaning who knows what you’re getting with this guy now, he’s nowhere near an ideal fit on this offense.
I’ve made this argument before in regards to the possibility of Mike Sims-Walker coming to Miami, so excuse me if I’m coming off as redundant, but there is nothing void with this Dolphins’ receiving core now that they have their speedster in Edmond Gates.
Brandon Marshall is a top five talent and I believe he proves that in 2011 if he can get a little consistency at quarterback. Davone Bess is one of the top slot receivers in the game. Brian Hartline may be the most underrated member of the Miami offense, as he was on pace for over 800 yards receiving before he missed the final five games of the season with a broken finger.
If the Dolphins’ passing attack isn’t up to par in 2011, it’s going to be because Chad Henne, or whoever else starts at quarterback, struggles. The Dolphins’ weapons at receiver are more than adequate enough to get the job done, and I firmly believe a franchise quarterback would elevate the entire core to elite status.
With all that said, there is one scenario where signing Burress would be rationalized. It’s become somewhat of an afterthought in Miami, but some continue to speculate that there is still a remote possibility that the league could discipline Brandon Marshall for being stabbed by his wife. To me, that is as ludicrous as it sounds, unless of course Roger Goodell knows something we don’t.
Marshall’s wife claims she did so out of self-defense, but to my knowledge she had no injuries or bruises. And reports have it that the case could be dropped all together, as Marshall won’t cooperate with law enforcement because he misses his wife and probably doesn’t want her to face jail time.
So, assuming there is no new revelations in the Marshall case, I just don’t see why anyone would speculate about Burress signing with the Dolphins. A possible red-zone target? That’s what Marshall is for when he’s used properly. An upgrade at the 5th receiver spot over Roberto Wallace and Marlon Moore? Come on now. Do you really think Burress wants to sign with a team he won’t even suit up every game day for?
I’m one of the skeptics that felt Burress was punished far too severely for accidently shooting himself, so by all means I’m rooting for the guy to resurrect his career. I just don’t see it happening in Miami.