Wednesday, January 31, 2007
-Nick Saban is in a lot of hot water today over some controversial remarks. He later released a statement about the things he said. Sounds to me like he's still throwing blame around to others and refusing to take responsibility for his own stupidity.
-Eddie Jones hasn't decided if he's coming to the Heat just yet. I'm betting he will.
-The Canes landed a coveted quarterback! And there's nothing Nick Saban can do about it! (He's not a coon-ass. He's just an ass.)
-The entire nation has turned it's eyes on Miami this week. If you haven't read Dave Barry's column written to our guests yet, do yourself a favor. Your week just won't be complete without it.
-And .. what's this??? Bill Simmons actually has good things to say about Miami? Whaa??? No unabashed, un-funny ostentatious observations about how Miami sucks compared to all things Boston? No condescending remarks on the home of the Miami Dolphins and Miami Heat? No pithy pompous self-serving comments about how his buddies Crunch and The Masterbator (or whatever his dumb-ass friends call themselves) compared South Beach to Taiwanese brothels and Boston to the Garden of Eden? I’m shocked. No, really. I’m shocked.
-Still no official word on Randy Mueller's status. But JD said he heard that the Muel is staying.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Eddie Jones: The Return
Labels: Miami Heat
Randy Mueller Update
Labels: Miami Dolphins
Monday, January 29, 2007
Senior Bowl Coverage: Potential Dolphins Draft Picks
With the NFL Combine still ahead, there are still plenty of prospects to watch. And draft projections will undoubtedly fluctuate from now until April’s draft. But this game did feature some players that caught my eye as well as others whose play solidified my opinions about them.
The Dolphins have needs up the wazoo and Randy Mueller and his brain trust can go a number of different directions with that number 9 pick. I will give my opinions here on how the team should approach this thing.
First off, we’ll only look at the first two picks in this particular post. We know the Dolphins have the 9th overall and 41st overall picks (which is pretty good) in this draft. Their draft slots after this will be decided by a coin flip and the Fins will rotate slots every other round with the Minnesota Vikings. This is because the two teams finished with the same record – or something like that. Maybe Nick Saban is somehow to blame.
Anyway, all this will be resolved once the Super Bowl ends and the final slots are all in place.
Here now is my preliminary 2007 Miami Dolphins Draft report:
It’s no secret I think the Dolphins really need to address the quarterback position in this draft. Daunte Culpepper is too much of a question mark and we’re not sure how good Cleo Lemon really is. Drafting a QB this year means sitting him down for at least one season to learn under Lemon or Culpepper and, of course, learning from Cam Cameron – who has a nice history of developing young QBs. Right off the bat, I think JaMarcus Russell of LSU and Brady Quinn of Notre Dame are the two best quarterbacks in this draft. Say what you will about Quinn, but I believe he’s worth a shot if he’s available. I’ve been calling for the Fins to target Quinn this April and at least one draft “expert” seems to have him projected to drop to the Dolphins at the number 9 pick. But I don’t think either Russell or Quinn will be there when the Dolphins’ first pick rolls around. There are other QBs to consider in the later rounds, which we’ll get into later.
There are many glaring needs this team needs to address besides QB. Most notably at offensive line, secondary, and wide receiver. They also need to get younger at linebacker and defensive line. With that said, and assuming neither Quinn nor Russell will be there at No. 9, here are the guys I’d like the Fins to target.
Third Choice: Levi Brown, Offensive Tackle, Penn State. Again, not a sexy pick by any means. But this is a huge need and Brown fits the bill very nicely. Brown is drawing comparisons to guys like Will Shields and Willie Roaf. Imagine having a player like those two busting holes open for Ronnie Brown and protecting our quarterback. At 6-5, 328 pounds, Brown is a walking mountain. He’s also a fantastic athlete. He’s quick, has great footwork and has four years of starting experience in the Big Ten. He’s also been healthy his entire career, which is always a huge plus for the position as many times you have talented offensive line prospects coming into the NFL with prior knee and ligament injuries. Again, he’s not a skills position guy but he fills a huge need in a big way and with Hudson Houck running the O-line again this year, a guy like Brown can be molded into a Pro Bowl caliber OT. (I just don't look forward to Chris Berman calling him "Bad Bad" Levi Brown on NFL Primetime).
Second Round, 41st Overall Pick
Again, assuming the Dolphins miss their chance to draft either Brady Quinn or JaMarcus Russell in the first round, I really believe they need to address the QB position with their second pick. Right now, in my mind, there are only four quarterbacks worth taking in this year’s draft. Russell and Quinn are the top two. I think Michigan State’s Drew Stanton and Houston’s Kevin Kolb are the other two. Both Stanton and Kolb will have plenty of opportunities to raise their stock at the combine and, much like Jay Cutler did last year, could go from projected second rounders to late first rounders. There’s a big drop off between Russell/Quinn and Stanton/Kolb. Quinn and Russell have more polish to their games and seem to be sure things. But both Stanton and Kolb have tremendous potential to be franchise QBs and I think Cam Cameron is the right man to work with either of these two. Either way, the Dolphins would be wise to use their second pick on either of these guys should they be available – and there’s a very good chance that they will be. During the 2001 NFL Draft, there was a talented QB from Purdue who dropped down out of the first round and into the second and the Dolphins had a chance to grab him. Instead, they drafted cornerback Jamar Fletcher, who ended up being a disaster of a player and has since bounced around the league. The quarterback from Purdue they passed on? Drew Brees. Let’s not make this mistake a second time.
Drew Stanton, Quarterback, Michigan State. My liking for Stanton and Kolb changes every day. Today, I’ve got Stanton rated higher because he played more minutes in the Senior Bowl and had a decent game while Kolb barely sniffed the field (thanks to terrible roster management by South coach Mike Nolan). I’ve liked Stanton as a draft option since last season. But he opted to stay in college one more year. This may have hurt his stock as he had a mediocre senior campaign. But I still like him. Stanton is a dynamic player but can also be a polarizing one. Fans and scouts seem to be split down the middle as far as Stanton’s prospects as an NFL quarterback are concerned. There’s no doubt Stanton is physically gifted. At 6-3, 230 pounds, he’s a prototypical QB. He has decent speed, is a great athlete, is tough and has a cannon for an arm. However, he’s wildly inconsistent. He can be a bit of a head case. He’s also had his share of injuries, including a torn ACL back in 2003. Mechanically, he tends to stand in the pocket too long, sometimes stares down his receivers and tends to have mental lapses. But when he’s on his game, he can be outstanding. He’ll need to prove his mental toughness at the combine. But because of his physical attributes, he has the potential to raise his stock and may have already with a solid Senior Bowl outing. I think, under the right direction and leadership, Stanton can be developed into a great NFL QB. He’ll be a project, but one worth investing in.
Labels: Miami Dolphins 2007 Draft
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Jamal Crawford Goes All Kobe Bryant On Our Asses!
"It's Jamal Crawford. Jamal Crawford, man. We're talkin bout Jamal Crawford. We're talking bout Jamal Crawford. Jamal Crawford. We're talking bout Jamal Crawford. We're talkin bout Jamal Crawford. Not an Allen Iverson. Not a Kobe Bryant. Not a Dirk Nowitzki. Not a Chauncey Billups. We're talkin bout Jamal Crawford. We're talkin bout Jamal Crawford. Not a Gilbert Arenas. Not a Tim Duncan. Not a Carmelo Anthony. Not a LeBron James. Not a Steve Nash. We're talkin bout Jamal Crawford, man. We're talkin bout Jamal Crawford..."
Labels: Miami Heat
Thursday, January 25, 2007
-Cam is expanding his staff. Don't know much about the additions. Just know that this team needs all the help it can get. And Dom Capers has a squirrel on his head.
-FOX Sports' Ben Maller suggests that the Dolphins could be in the market for Jake Plummer. So let's see, that makes Culpepper, Harrington, Cleo and possibly Plummer. Not sure how this would help. Pile more shit onto a pile of shit and ... in the end ... you still have a pile of shit.
-Looks like we've lost Garrett to the Cowboys. This isn't a big deal now but I really think he'll do well as he climbs up the coaching ladder. Unless he's hired to be the head coach and has to deal with T.O. Then he's f-cked.
-UM football has a tough '07 schedule (so will the Dolphins, by the way). Opponents include the 'Noles, Virgina Tech, Texas A&M, the Sooners and Boston College. And, of course, their re-match with FIU on September 15. Can't wait for ESPN to roll out non-stop footage and oversaturated coverage of last season's brawl while wagging their fingers with a hardy self-righteous tisk-tisk. Maybe we can somehow get Lamar Thomas to stick that pencil up Lee Corso's ass.
-Shaq and Wade are back! Ain't no stopping us now! Wait. Pacers beat the Heat 96-94 in OT. Whaaa??? Trade 'em both! Trade 'em both right now! (South Florida talk-radio is poisoning my mind)
David Woodley Thanks Rex Grossman From the Beyond ...
ESPN.com ran a poll of the worst quarterbacks to ever play in a Super Bowl. Current Bears QB Rex Grossman ran away with it with Woodley finishing 5th of 6 choices. Boog Sciambi of 790 the Ticket had an entire segment on his show today arguing why Woodley should’ve won that poll.
CBS.Sportsline.com has an entire column on the all time all-time greatest disparities between quarterbacks who faced each other in a Super Bowl. Number one on that list? Joe Theisman versus David Woodley.
Woodley is possibly the most tragic figure in Dolphins history. The guy led the Fins – well, co-led with Don Strock – to the Super Bowl XVII where they lost to the Redskins. However, during the off-season that same year, in the first round of the NFL Draft, the Dolphins selected a quarterback from the University of Pittsburgh named Dan Marino. During his rookie season, Marino took over when Don Shula yanked a struggling Woodley on a Monday night game against the Raiders. And that pretty much ended the David Woodley era. Woodley was later traded to the Steelers and the rest of his career fizzled. Woodley eventually sank into a life of obscurity and alcoholism until his untimely death in 2003.
And now, thanks to the greatness of the Colt’s Peyton Manning and the suckyness of the Bears’ Rex Grossman, Woodley’s name has popped back into the mainstream. Chances are good that we’ll see more of Woodley in the next week and a half leading up to the Super Bowl.
Anyway … it is what it is. Woodley bridged the gap between Hall of Famers Bob Griese and Dan Marino and, along the way, took us to a Super Bowl. And thanks to this year's Super Bowl, Woodley’s proverbial 15 minutes of fame has been extended an extra 5.
In a way, this is a good thing for us Dolphins fans. Woodley is a fresh reminder that even when there is a supposedly good quarterback on your roster, you still shouldn’t be afraid to take a quarterback in the draft.
This means you, Daunte Culpepper (consider yourself warned, or Woodleyed, as it were) …
Labels: Miami Dolphins
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
-Cam Cameron sent Dolphins season ticket holders an e-mail. Nick Saban claims he never uses the e-mail. Except of course when he uses it to tell his players he's leaving for Alabama.
-The Dolphins haven't made the playoffs since Nixon was president (or so it would seem). But they're going to raise club level ticket prices anyway. By 200%.
-Tom Brady has no class. And Reggie Miller wants everyone to know it.
-The pros and cons of Cam Cameron's hiring. Cam Cameron. Cam Cameron. It's a fun name to type. Cam Cameron. Cam Cameron. Try it. Cam Cameron.
-The Cowboys are interviewing Dolphins QB coach Jason Garrett for their offensive coordinator position. I was actually advocating Saban replacing the habitually inept Mike Mularkey with Garrett mid way through last season. I e-mailed Saban about it and got this response: “Fuck off.” Anyway, I’d hate to lose Garrett but the guy has a bright future so I wish him well if he goes.
-Philip Rivers gives Cam Cameron his full endorsement. Neat!
-Nick Saban recently called Wayne Huizenga. Huizenga said Saban told him ''he was sorry it didn't work out and thanks for handling it the way you did in the press conference and to let him know if he can be of any help.'' Allow me to respond to Saban for Mr. Huizenga: "Fuck off."
Labels: Miami Dolphins
Dolphins To Talk With Ken Zampese
The son of long-time NFL offensive coordinator Ernie Zampese, Ken Zampese has worked for Cincinnati the past four seasons. Zampese's coaching was considered influential in the development of Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer.
Labels: Miami Dolphins
Give Mueller His Extension
The Dolphins have given Mueller more power, more say and more influence over the coaching staff in regards to personnel matters. But he still lacks one thing – and extension. And until the Dolphins give him one, this is going to be the on-going story.
Mueller’s denials sound eerily like Nick Saban before he bolted for Alabama. ''Here's what I'm going to say,'' Mueller said. “I have no idea about the Tennessee thing. I have not talked to Tennessee.” And “I've been here since we hired the coach. And that's all I have to say about it. End of story.''
As I mentioned yesterday, denials round these parts carry as much weight as, say, a U.S. President who lands on a aircraft carrier with a giant banner that reads 'Mission Accomplished.'
Not to stick Mueller in the same boat with a snake like Saban or to imply that I don’t believe him. It’s just that, well, I don’t believe him. And his seemingly prickly answers to the question-that-won’t-go-away only adds fuel to the fire.
But I don’t fault Mueller here. If other teams want to talk with him and he has a right to do so, then more power to him. It’s not like he’s turning his back on us or is breaching a contract agreement. His contract says he’s allowed to pursue other jobs if he so desires.
I blame Wayne Huizenga and the Dolphins brass. Hiring Cam Cameron is a feather in their cap and the fact that they’ve finally gotten with things and are letting their GM do his job says a lot about their willingness to change for the better. But I’m still critical about the way they went about this whole business post-Saban-era. This team should have hired a GM or locked Mueller in long term, from the beginning. Then, they should have made their coaching search. This is an organization that is still trying to find its bearings in a sea of new-thinking. But if we lose Mueller, we will once again be a sinking ship. A new coach with a promising future is nice. But take away his best talent evaluator and that new coach with a promising future is suddenly Edward Smith.
The Dolphins need to get serious here and give Mueller an extension. Today.
Labels: Miami Dolphins
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Stuff I'm reading while still reveling in the Patriots' 18 point-lead collapse in their AFC Championship loss to the Colts, while Mr. Clutch couldn't come through for them and their CEO was up to his elbow cleaning house while a record number of people watched ...
MSD Tuesday Bullets:
- Randy Mueller has been granted permission to interview with the Titans. ''I am a Dolphin,'' Mueller said. "I have not thought about anything but that Mr. Huizenga has been real good to me. I hope I'm here forever. And that's my plan.'' That's wonderful and heartfelt. But until you sign that contract, Randy, color us incredulous. This is what Nick Saban has turned us into.
- The Homeless Genius is an asshole. And Boomer Esiason wants everyone to know it.
- A Wadeless, Shaqless Heat beat the Knicks. In the first quarter.
- The Palm Beach Post says that Cam Cameron's hiring is drawing praise around the NFL. And by "around the NFL," they mean Herm Edwards. (On the other hand, Buffalo's 197 year old GM and former head coach, Marv Levy says he's not sure it's such a good hire. Which means there's no doubt we found the right guy.)
- JD at SporTech Matter: Good guy. Fantastic blogger. MSD Commenter. Mark Cuban/Dallas Mavericks HATER. Don't make JD angry. You wouldn't like him when he gets angry.
- Nick Saban keeps screwing Miami football fans.
- The Senior Bowl is this week. I'll be doing some posts on what I think the Dolphins should do in this year's draft in the coming weeks. I'll have my own mock drafts and analysis on certain players I think the Fins should target ... So look out for that.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Mularkey Will Return ... But Not Like You Think
Labels: Miami Dolphins
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Capers, Mueller To Stay With Dolphins
Now that the Dolphins have nailed down their head coach, the Miami Herald reported today that not only will General Manager Randy Mueller remain with the team in an increased capacity, but defensive coordinator Dom Capers also will also return -- this according to Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga.
Along with the hiring of Cam Cameron as head coach, the Dolphins retaining Capers and Mueller is excellent news.
The Fins' offer to Capers is a three-year contract that will make him the highest paid assistant coach in the NFL. Capers had reportedly not signed the contract up until yesterday before the team announced Cameron would become the new head coach. But now that Cameron is officially on board, according to the Herald, Capers finally signed the contract.
A report surfaced Friday that the Tennessee Titans were interested in speaking with Mueller about their vacant GM spot. But it appears, from this Herald article, that Mueller will sign an extension and will stay with the Dolphins. Plus, Mueller will have a bigger role than when he worked under Nick Saban. He will actually get to be a GM.
During his press conference yesterday, Cameron went out of his way to say that he and Mueller will work together and even described their new partnership with a "marriage" analogy. Then during a post-press conference interview, Huizenga told 790 The Ticket's Jimmy Cefalo that Mueller will not be answering to Cameron but rather to team president Bryan Wiedmeier. This is a far cry from the old regime and its static, rigid methods. In just a matter of 24 hours, the Dolphins have swept away any and all remnants of the Saban era and have ushered in a fresh, new chapter in Dolphins history. One that is defined by teamwork, mutual growth and individuals doing the jobs they've been hired to do. Mueller will do what he does best -- scout and evaluate talent. Cameron and Capers will do what they do best -- coach. So far, this new regime is off to a great start. Now it's just a matter of finding the talent, filling in the gaps and seeing the fruits of their labor on the field.
Update: Cameron told reporters Friday that he will be calling the offensive plays from the sidelines, which leaves Mike Mularkey in a bit of a pickle. This just keeps getting better!
Labels: Miami Dolphins
Friday, January 19, 2007
Dolphins New Head Coach (Updated)
It's official. Cam Cameron has accepted the Dolphins offer and will become the new head coach for your Miami Dolphins. The 45 year old Cameron becomes the 7th head coach in franchise history, replacing Nick Saban. He leaves his post as offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers, who had the top rated offense in the league this season. He’s also known in league circles as an offensive innovator and talented quarterback developer.
He was our number one choice in the MSD Coaching Prospects column and we truly believe the Dolphins hired themselves the best candidate available.
This team still has a lot of holes to fill and is in dire need of offensive play makers. But this is a significant first step. Now it's up to the personnel department to build a talented team for Cam to work with.
Dolphins Will Have A New Coach ... But Will They Need A New GM?
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Update 1: My source -- yes I have a source! -- at the Sun-Sentinel told me that Cameron's interview last night lasted three hours. I guess that's a good sign.
Update 2: Dom Capers has not yet signed the big contract the Fins offered him last week. This is likely in case none of the candidates work out and they decide to hand the head job to Capers. But all signs point to him signing the contract, especially if Cameron is hired. Cameron has agreed to keep most of the coaching staff already in the organization (hopefully that doesn't include Mike Mularkey) if he's hired. There are also whispers that Mik Shula could be hired as an offensive assistant or even offensive coordinator -- which is fine with me if Cameron becomes head coach.
Update 3: The smartest thing Phil Simms has said in quite a while: "Maybe they're just trying to make sure. How much can you really learn [in all these interviews]? I just want to know what kind of football coach they are. Can they lead? That's more important than anything. Obviously, you got to be a pretty good X-and-O guy nowadays. It's almost gotten to be confusing now that they've interviewed so many different coaches.''
Seriously, gents. You're looking for a football coach. Not someone who can split the atom. Oh, and, don't hire Chan Gailey.
Anyway, the Sun-Sentinel just posted this under the banner "New." They're the kings of the Breaking News We Already Knew! postings.
Update 4: In non-coach-search news, Jason Taylor's 2006 season game-worn uniform has been sent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Update 5: This from SporTech Matter -- A United Kingdom newspaper is reporting that the Aardvark is about to be announced as the Dolphins' new head coach.
Update 6: The Palm Beach Post is reporting that Cam Cameron concluded his 2nd interview today and will be staying in Miami overnight for a second night - the first finalist to do so. Cameron was not extended a job offer, but a source familiar with the discussions was very upbeat about how they went. Cameron also showed more personality with the Dolphins in his second interview, a source said. That likely has landed him in front of the other two favorites -- the Aardvark and Jim Mora.
Update 7: 790 The Ticket is reporting on their Sports Flash that the Dolphins are saying that they should name their new coach sometime tomorrow -- Saturday, the latest.
Final Update: The Dolphins have confirmed that they'll have a new coach by Saturday the latest: "I can tell you with 100 percent certainty, nothing has been decided tonight," Dolphins senior vice president Harvey Greene said Thursday. "We hope to have this finalized by Friday or Saturday at the latest."
Also, FOX Sports is saying that Cameron is now the front-runner for the job. Which confirms without a shadow of a doubt that no one knows what the hell is going on.
Ok. Catch y'all tomorrow.
I just sounded like Britney Spears there. Sorry.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Dolphins Coach Search Updated
The Sun-Sentinel is saying that it's now between Gailey and Cameron.
-The source is wrong about Gailey, Cam didn't impress and it could still be anybody's job.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
No Thanks To Mike Shula
I’ve seen polls and read in forums where a lot of fans like the idea of Shula as the coach. I think it’s because of his name. If we were talking about the Dolphins interviewing former Alabama head coach Mike Smith, these same fans would throw their arms in the air and wonder what Wayne Huizenga was smoking.
But the fact is, he’s former Alabama head coach Mike SHULA. And that, I think, is blinding some of these people.
Armando Salguero, who broke the story about Shula being a candidate, says the Dolphins insist that Shula is not among the candidates because of his father, Hall of Famer Don Shula. But the Dolphins have already stated that they’re getting feed back from Don about the head coaching job. Don Shula is advising the Dolphins on their coaching search. Whether or not they’re telling the truth about the relationship between father and son not playing a factor is irrelevant. If Mike is given this job not only will he forever have the cloud of “having this job because of Daddy” hanging over his head for the duration of his tenure here. But he will also have to constantly live under Don’s looming shadow, making the fans’ expectations unreasonable. That’s what’s got these fans who voted for him and talking about him in the forums all lathered up. He’s Don’s boy. His name is Shula. Any other name and we’d all be saying, “Next!”
Now let’s forget this is Don Shula’s son for a second and let’s look at Mike Shula the coach, and why he should NOT be the Dolphins’ next head coach.
After a few NFL stints in Miami and Chicago as quarterbacks coach, Shula made his name as Tony Dungy’s offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay. He was eventually fired when the Bucs’ offense was ranked 21st in the league. He was then given the Alabama job. His time at Bama has been marked with mediocre teams, one good season, and a final season where he “lost” his players – 2006 was marred by a supposed lack of discipline and sloppy play from his players. In 4 seasons with the ‘Tide, Shula's record is 26-23 (4-9, 6-6, 10-2, 6-6).
In the end, his resume and track record leaves very little to be desired.
If, in fact, the Dolphins have narrowed down their search to three candidates -- Chan Gailey, Jim Mora and, now, apparently, Mike Shula -- this team needs to give this job to Jim Mora so it can move on and start planning ahead to the draft and the off-season.
Unless Cam Cameron is still in the mix, Mora needs to be offered the job. Period.
Update 1: Looks like Dad has already made a public statement endorsing Mike. On the Dolphins official website no less! Wow. The Dolphins would be wise to reconsider this whole Mike Shula thing and move on to the other candidates. Salguero, you've been duped.
Update 2: As JD reported in the comments, Cam Cameron is slated for a second interview.
Shula To The Dolphins?
Monday, January 15, 2007
Dolphins Coach Search Finalists: Two Horse Race?
Chan o Jim? … Quen es mas macho?
Okay, let’s assume that come this Tuesday, Marty Schottenheimer is going to be Mo Green to AJ Smith’s Michael Corleone. Let’s then assume that the Chargers will name Cam Cameron as Marty’s replacement. Stop cursing. Calm down. Focus.
Ok, now that the Two Monkeys and a yo-yo have allowed Ken Whisenhunt to sign elsewhere and the fact that the NFL rules for hiring new coaches sucks, which means we lost out on offering Cam a job because his team was still in the playoffs. And given the fact that Marty’s Boy wised up and decided he didn't want to be the coach down here anymore -- it leaves us with two real options. I haven’t heard Mike Tomlin’s name much since his interview, which is a shame. But the vibe is Tomlin is an unlikely hire. Some say Dom Capers could still emerge here but I doubt it. Dom Capers has a squirrel on his head.
If you believe all the reports coming in, it looks like this is now a two horse race between Chan Gailey and Jim Mora. I know. Not very appealing. We were all hoping the Chargers would lose so Cam Cameron would get another interview. Instead it may have cost us, as Cam will very likely be the new man in San Diego as early as Tuesday.
Given that these are our options, let’s revisit what I’ve written about them each. (Some of this is recycled stuff from what I've written the past two weeks with a few additions here and there):
Jim Mora: Mora led the Falcons to the NFC championship his first year with the team. And I think Atlanta would’ve been a playoff team this year had it not been for a rash of injuries on the defense. He’s a young, energetic coach and is well liked by his players. Overall, Mora did a good job in Atlanta and aside from not being able to keep his mouth shut, he really did nothing wrong. Mora was widely criticized for mishandling Michael Vick and for not instilling enough discipline on his team.
But I think a change of scenery would benefit Mora and while his recent firing makes him seem like a potential lame duck consideration, remember that even the great Bill Belichick’s first time around as a head coach was very similar to Mora’s. During his tenure with the Cleveland Browns, Belichick compiled a 36-44 record, leading the team to one playoff win. Browns fans remember him as the man who benched and then cut popular quarterback Bernie Kosar. And in Belichick's last season in Cleveland, the Browns finished 5-11. He is now the Great Football Genius of the New England Patriots. Mora is not my first choice, but he’s someone worth looking into. I believe a guy like Mora can be successful if you give him the right weapons and the right assistant coaches.
He’s a defensive-minded guy. But his resume is the best among the finalists as far as I’m concerned. He led the Falcons to the NFC Championship his first year and Michael Vick’s game has actually improved over the years under Mora. The biggest problem for Atlanta in 2006, in my view, was that the Falcons lacked a solid receiver and their defense was racked with injuries all season long. Yes, Mora has a big mouth and I really do think he’d rather be in the NFL over Washington. I think he’s going to be seriously considered by Huizenga because of his youth, experience and his resume.
Verdict: Hire this man. I do like him a lot. Some of you have said otherwise, but I believe he can be successful down here. Mora is young, experienced and qualified. Which means he has no shot at the job whatsoever. But, you ask me -- Mora is the man.
The Aardvark: Chan Gailey has actually been a coach on both sides of the ball. He started his career as a secondary coach at Troy State. He was also defensive coordinator at Air Force as well as special teams coach for the Denver Broncos. He also was head coach for the World League’s Birmingham Fire, eventually making his way to Pittsburgh as offensive coordinator and then was hired by the Cowboys to be their head coach.
So ... Quen es mas macho?
NO MARTYBALL! NOOOooooo!!!
Why is this relevant here? Because there has been speculation that the Dolphins would make a run at Marty.
Update: Marty's Boy Pulls His Name Out
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Does this open the door even wider for the the Aardvark to take over? Sweet baby Jesus, I hope not. This could also open the door for the Aardvark in Pittsburgh but we'll just have to wait and see.
Meanwhile, Chris Mortensen said on ESPN's Sunday Countdown show this morning that Jim Mora has been invited to have a second interview with the Fins this week.
Keep it tuned here, dudes ...
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Wheels Are in Motion: Capers Locked In
This is a great move by Huizenga and his boys.
Number One: It means we get to keep one of the best assistant coaches in the NFL without making him the full on head coach. I have always said that I'd love it if Capers stayed with the Dolphins but only as defensive coordinator. Capers was the lone standout from the entire 2006 coaching staff and as I -- and you, dear readers and commenters -- have been saying all along: keeping Capers in Miami was a top priority. Done and done.
Number Two: It now becomes imperative that the Fins bring in a offensive mind to be the head coach. ESPN's Chris Mortensen is also reporting that New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenhenheimer has emerged among the 5 finalists for the Fins ' head coaching position. Mort also said that Chan Gailey and Cam Cameron also are believed to be finalists for the Dolphins' job.
So everything here pretty much rocks. Except the Chan Gailey thing. What in the wide wide world of sports is Gailey's name doing among the finalists???
I do like Brian Schottenhenheimer a lot. As Jason and Jay pointed out yesterday in the comments, Schottenheimer is a solid dark horse candidate who helped a Jets offense over-achieve this season. Good call, fellas!
Update: The Sun-Sentinel is reporting that Brian Schottenheimer will have a second interview with the Dolphins on Tuesday.
Also, ProFootballTalk.com is guessing that Chan Gailey is going to be the Fins' man. Mind you, it's just a guess on their part. But when I read that, it made me throw up in my mouth a little.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Latest Dolphins Rumblings
-Chris Chambers, Man of the Year: Chambers was named Dolphins 2006 Man of the Year for his outstanding work in the community. Chambers founded C.A.T.C.H. (Children Achieving Through Community Help) 84 Foundation last year. The foundation’s mission is to help children from single parent family’s look beyond their current circumstances by promoting self-fulfillment through physical fitness and educational programs so children can overcome life’s challenges. When Bryan Wiedmeier handed Chambers the award at the Dolphins award banquet, Chambers dropped it. In a related note, Olindo Mare started his own foundation called C.L.U.T.C.H. Joey Harrington started the R.O.C.K.E.T. A.R.M. foundation as well. There's also a foundation recently started by Jason Allen called F.I.R.S.T. R.O.U.N.D. G.E.M. as well as the newly launched Daunte Culpepper venture, the F.R.A.N.C.H.I.S.E. S.A.V.I.O.R. foundation. I'm starting my own foundation called the T.O.O.K. A. P.E.R.F.E.C.T.L.Y. G.O.O.D. J.O.K.E. A.N.D. R.O.D.E. I.T. I.N.T.O. T.H.E. G.R.O.U.N.D. foundation.
-Dolphins Could Hire New Coach By Wednesday: According to the Palm Beach Post, of the 12 candidates the Dolphins have interviewed so far, the most likely to be brought back for further talks are Ken Whisenhunt, Mike Martz, Jim Mora, Mike Tomlin, Dom Capers and Chan Gailey. This also means that Cam Cameron and Ron Rivera could be out of the loop should the Chargers and Bears advance beyond this weekend’s Divisional Round of the playoffs. That sucks. Should I root for the Patriots to win this weekend so the Fins can bring Cam back in for another interview? Yes! No, wait. No! Damn it! It's like my own private Sophie's Choice!
From the list above, not counting Cameron, I like 'em in this order:
1. Ken Whisenhunt
2. Mike Tomlin
3. Jim Mora
4. Mike Martz.
5. Mmmm … yea … that’s about it.
-Maybe Wayne Is Reading the MSD After All. Again, from the Palm Beach Post:
"The Dolphins were so impressed by [Dom] Capers this season - his defense was fourth in the league - that club officials have talked about making him the highest-paid coordinator in the league in order to keep him, two sources said."
“The Dolphins likely won't tab a coach from the college ranks, the source said. That seemingly would eliminate USC's Pete Carroll and Georgia Tech's Chan Gailey, who reportedly will interview with the Pittsburgh Steelers on the weekend.”
“Owner Wayne Huizenga also has indicated he likely won't grant total organizational control to the next coach - something Nick Saban was given. Carroll, the former Jets and Patriots coach, said that sort of control would be a stipulation in any possible return to the NFL.”
I’m sure Wayne enjoys the input, opinions and analysis here at the MSD. But I think he just comes here for the jokes.
Dark Horse: Mike Tomlin Emerges
Okay, yes, he’s a defense guy. But everything I’ve heard or read about him says that NFL Insiders believe that the 34 year old Tomlin is a rising young star who will be a head coach someday very soon.
This year he made the Vikings the best run defense in the league. If you played fantasy football this year, you always avoided starting your running back against the Vikings -- well that’s because of Tomlin. How’s that for expert analysis? Fantasy football. Yea, I’m a genius with this stuff. It’s why the ladies love me. That and my spectacular pecs.
Tomlin has coached under Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden. As defensive backs coach in Tampa, his players had 5 interceptions in Super Bow XXXVII, shutting down the season’s MVP, quarterback Rich Gannon, and leading the Buccaneers to their first Super Bowl title.
Tomlin is the first name to pop up as a positive sign that the Fins are narrowing down their search and that the wheels are in motion (I’m spinning my hands with my index fingers pointed out in a twirley motion to better accentuate my point that the wheels are in motion). And although I can’t figure out why they couldn’t just have one interview each and then hire their guy is really beyond me. This is not a managerial position at Kinkos. This is the head coaching position for the Miami Dolphins. Do all your reasearch before the interviews, ask both character questions and football related questions in the same interview, go with ... ah hell, why bother!!
Two monkeys and a fuckin yo-yo ...
Anyway, I do like Tomlin. He’s young, aggressive, impressive and he’s not Pete Carroll, Mike Martz or Dom Capers. I really, really want Squirrel Head to stay here but only as an assistant and defensive coordinator.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Mike Martz To The Dolphins?
But have we as Dolphins fans gotten so jaded by the lack of offense down here that we’re actually enthusiastic about welcoming in Mike “Mad Scientist,” “Mad Man” Martz as our head coach?
We’ve been through such hell with our offenses since the Jimmy Johnson era right on through to the Saban error that we’re now willing to hand over the keys to our beloved franchise to Mike Freakin’ Martz?
Now, I like Martz as an offensive guru. The first time I started to have my doubts about Nick Saban last year was when he decided to hire Mike Mularkey as his new offensive coordinator instead of Martz, who was also available. I wanted Martz down here. If there is a perfect place for Martz, it’s in the booth calling plays. But unless Huizenga offers to make Martz the highest paid offensive coordinator in the NFL, that window is shut.
Now Martz does have some positives to take into account. He is considered an offensive genius and designs some of the most complex and intricate passing schemes in the NFL. He made Jon Kitna relevant this season, helping him to a 4,208 yard season. He helped Dick Vermiel’s Rams win the Super Bowl in 2000 when he was named their offensive coordinator. In 2001 when Vermeil “retired” Martz took over as head coach and led the Rams to a 14-2 record and the NFC Championship – where they eventually lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl. His head coaching record is 56-36 – so far the best record of all the candidates the Fins have interviewed with previous head coaching experience.
But Mike Martz is also considered one of the worst game-clock managers in the NFL. He’s known for calling replay challenges at the worst possible times during a game, abusing the time outs available to him and wasting challenges on mundane plays.
Plus, Mike Martz does not like to run the ball. Despite having both Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson at his disposal when with the Rams, Martz was known for throwing first and throwing often, no matter what the game situation was. In one divisional game, Faulk and Jackson combined for 22 carries while the offense threw the ball 56 times – and this was NOT because the Rams were playing from behind. St. Louis lost that game.
The Rams, who were once known as the “Greatest Show on Turf” and featured a record breaking trio of stars, including Faulk, completely fell apart under Martz’s watch. It all came to a head in 2005 when Martz claimed that offensive lineman Kyle Turley threatened to kill him. Martz also had several conflicts with the Rams front office over the years that eventually led to his firing in 2005.
The verdict on Martz’s tenure with the Rams is clear: He was a record breaking play caller when he was their offensive coordinator. But as their head coach, the team crumbled around him. He lost the respect of his players, had conflicts with the front office and he, stubbornly, mismanaged games over and over again.
Simply put, if you have Martz on a leash, focusing solely on the X’s and O’s of the offense -- he shines. But when he’s put in charge and is made to be the boss, things fall apart.
All indications point to the Dolphins handing all the power to their new head coach. Martz can barely handle replay challenges and we expect him to make all the decisions on team personnel situations?
If Huizenga somehow changed his mind and decided to hire a strong personnel guy or, at the very least, give Randy Mueller the power, then my feelings towards Martz would go from cold to lukewarm. Only because as a head coach, I think Martz is a total flake. But I don’t think Huizenga is changing his philosophy.
I said yesterday in the comments section that my hunch, gut feeling is that Martz will be the guy they hire, unless Pete Carroll pulls a Saban and comes here even after saying he wouldn’t. Right now I’m listless about any of the supposed candidates – unless it’s Cam Cameron or Ken Whisenhunt.
Admittedly, I would be curious to see what Martz did with this Miami offense while having Dom Capers running the defense. But at this point, I’m just angry at the fact that this ownership is happily married to the idea of giving the new head coach all the power. That is going to be the single reason why the Dolphins will not return to being a Super Bowl contender for a long, long while.
So, Mike Martz? I say no. But if he did come here, I wouldn’t burn down the practice bubble or anything. I’d just be very indifferent and apathetic about our team’s future.
I guess we’ll see …
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Mr. Huizenga, Here's What You Need To Do ...
You recently flew to Costa Rica to meet with USC head coach Pete Carroll. Carroll himself confirmed that the two of you met for 4 hours. And this is what he had to say about you and your search for a new head coach:
"[Wayne Huizenga] has structured a program where the head coach has the entire say, from top to bottom.” And,
And therein lies your dilemma. First off, anyone who uses the phrase “he’s an awesome guy” should automatically be eliminated from your list of coaching prospects. No one here wants someone who talks like a 15 year old baton twirler coaching the Miami Dolphins.
Secondly, and really this is what’s MOST IMPORTANT, Carroll just showed you what your biggest problem is through his very statements. He said that you have a program where the coach has all the say. And he’s right – there is no other program like it in the NFL, at least not one that is successful. It just won't work, sir.
You said you wanted our opinions. You had your staff e-mail the season ticket holders for their input. Well here’s mine. And, really, this is not a revelation. I haven’t discovered a magic formula. This formula is something most respected sports columnists, radio personalities and knowledgeable fans here in Miami have all said should be done – because it’s the right thing to do. I just broke it down in more detail for you.
So, finally, here’s what you do -- IN THREE EASY STEPS:
1.) Hire Floyd Reese as the new General Manager of the Miami Dolphins. Reese just finished a successful tenure as the Tennessee Titans’ GM. From 1999-2000, under Reese’s watch, no other team had as many victories as the Titans. He is responsible for drafting players like Eddie George, Steve McNair and, recently, 2006 NFL Rookie of the Year, Vince Young. Of the 75 players Reese drafted from 1999-2006, 36 of them finished the season on the team's roster – that’s 48%. 3rd-best percentage in the NFL behind only the Bengals and Ravens. He decided not to renew his contract and is now a free agent. Unless you can work your powers of persuasion and convince Scott Pioli to leave New England for sunny South Beach, Floyd should be your man.
2.) Hire a current NFL assistant coach as the new head coach of the Miami Dolphins. I have some suggestions but if you hire Reese (or Pioli), I’m sure he’ll know who to target. Don’t get lured by the big name college coach, like a Pete Carroll. It's the deadly Siren Song, Mr. Huizenga. Don't do it. Look, we appreciate the sentiment but, frankly, we’re a little tired of the big name guys. Again, someone like Reese will know what to do. But the point is, stick with picking an NFL assistant -- even if they have no prior head coaching experience. There's a long history of current successful head coaches that were once NFL assistants with zero head coaching experience: Mike Holmgren, Andy Reid, Brian Billick, Bill Cowher, Marvin Lewis, Eric Mangini, Sean Payton, just to name a few.
3.) When in doubt, look no further than our division rival New England Patriots. Bill Belichick has a lot of power over personnel. But he trusts Pioli and allows him to make the decisions on who the team should draft, sign, cut, and trade. A good example includes Tom Brady, who was drafted in the 6th round of the 2000 Draft – Pioli’s first draft with the Patriots. Three Super Bowl titles later, the Patriots are the standard by which others should follow. This should include our Dolphins. The main thing is that Belichick and Pioli work in harmony, have the same philosophy and share the common goal: Winning above all else.
Eliminate your current thinking, Mr. Huizenga. The head coach as CEO thing does not work in the NFL. When people think of the Patriots, they think of two names: Bill Belichick head coach, Scott Pioli, head of personnel. Giving a head coach all the power and all the say has proven to be unfruitful for you as Dolphins owner. Jimmy Johnson, Dave Wannstedt, Nick Saban – all of them had final say or total control and all of them failed you.
Hey, Sean Salisbury Sent Me A Picture!
In any event, it’s free. So I can’t bitch too much. Some day I might tell Blogger to put that coffee down, get smart like JD and plunk down some money to do the site on Word Press. Until then …
Anyway, some quick hits:
-Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz is going to be the 10th candidate the Dolphins will interview. I like it but would rather have him as an OC rather than a HC. Oh and Mike Martz is batshit insane.
-Dom Capers interviewed for the vacancy yesterday. Dom Capers has a dead squirrel on his head.
-Mike Tomlin also interviewed for the job. Something tells me Tomlin could be a real dark horse in this whole thing. NFL Insiders believe he’s a quick-rising football mind who will someday be a very good head coach. He may be a smart choice. What am I talking about? We have two monkeys with a yo-yo running shit down here.
-I’ve said it, JD said it today, Nick Buoniconti said it today on Dan Le Batard’s show: THE DOLPHINS NEED TO MAKE THEIR GM SPOT A PRIORITY!!!! And yet Wayne is flying to Costa Rica and meeting with Pete Carroll, who wants total control…. Two monkeys and a yo-yo.
-NFL Network’s Adam Schefter doesn’t think Pete Carroll is leaving USC. Schefter reminds me of an elementary school pal of mine named Niles. Just thought I’d share that with you.
I'll update anything that happens here …. (unless the hamster over at blogger dies again)
P.S. Some of you long time readers of the MSD know how much I hate ESPN’s Sean Salisbury. This is the reason for the post headline today. Just in case you’ve been living in a cave lately … or maybe you’ve been trying to post on Blogger all day.
Monday, January 08, 2007
Pete Carroll To The Dolphins?
Pete Carroll to the Dolphins would not only be a disaster but it would be a repeat of all the crap we just went through with Nick Saban.
Let’s take a closer look at the man they call Pom Poms and the man they call Nick Satan and the similarity of their NFL career stats:
In 1994, Carroll’s New York Jets went 6-10 and missed the playoffs. New York lost their final 6 games of the season and Carroll was fired. One and done. Carroll then went to the Patriots and took over a pretty talented Bill Parcells team. The Pats won the division and went to the conference title game – again, with Parcells’ players. Things got progressively worse after that. The following season, the Pats finished 9-7. In his third and final season with New England, the team finished 8-8, missed the playoffs and Carroll was fired. The Pats then hired some guy named Bill Belichick.
Carroll’s final NFL record: 33-31.
Saban’s first season with the Fins finished 9-7, buoyed by a strong late season rally. Miami missed the playoffs. In 2006, Saban and the Fins finished with a worse record, 6-10, and missed the playoffs again. He then bolted for the backwoods.
Saban’s final NFL record: 15-17
They’re the same guy. Except one guy is a dick and the other is a cheerleader.
Carroll just won’t work in the NFL. As I, and many others have noted, Carroll is perfectly suited for the college game. His rah-rah approach and his ability to recruit well make him a great NCAA coach. And if the Fins did hire him, how long until Carroll starts to feel the itch, like Saban did, and suddenly decide that he “misses” the college game.
More than my rah-rah argument is that Carroll has already proven he can’t handle the pro game. The NFL is faster, more complicated and demands a more win-now mentality. In both levels, you need players to win. In the NFL, you have to rely on a predetermined order of draft picks, free agency and a salary cap. In college, you just need to walk into a players’ living room and charm him onto your team – and you can do that with all the best high school players available without restrictions as to how many players you visit or try to get.
We’ve seen how Saban wrecked this team. He always talked about progress yet insisted on signing aging veterans while ignoring the glaring needs to re-build the offensive line and adding another talented receiver to compliment Chris Chambers and Randy McMichael. We won’t even get into the Culpepper/Harrington fiasco. Or his propensity to draft players out of the SEC, like Jason Allen who’s still sitting on the team’s bench.
If Carroll had never been a head coach in the NFL, maybe I’d be less against it. I was, after all, advocating the Fins pursue Louisville’s Bobby Petrino (who is now the new head coach for the Atlanta Falcons).
But Carroll’s been in the NFL. Twice. In the AFC East. And failed miserably both times. Not to mention that his expertise is on the defensive side of the ball.
Truth is, Carroll excites some people because of what he’s done at USC. He’s a sexy name and a high profile guy. And that’s great. But remember how excited we all were after Saban became the primary candidate after he won the National Championship with LSU? It was the same exact thing – a high profile college coach whose name and stock was as high as Lindsey Lohan on New Years eve. In the end, it was a bust deal.
Hire Pete Carroll and it’s just going to be Nick Saban re-visited. If not worse.
Chad Finn, a columnist for Boston.com – which is The Boston Globe’s website – covers the Red Sox and Patriots and says the following about the Carroll to Dolphins rumors:
"Pete Carroll to the Dolphins? It's the hot rumor of the day, and you know I'm jacked and pumped just thinking about it. Carroll is an idiot if he leaves USC - his rah-rah enthusiasm is perfect for the college game, and as we learned the hard way in New England, not so perfect for the NFL. It sure would be fun having him back in the division, though."