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.