With a quarter of the season gone, it is time to throw out a few quotes. I have to admit, I have been a little overwhelmed at work starting off a particularly busy school year. That might be part of the reason I did not collect quotes from the Houston game. Plus, who was really in the mood to write anything after the Houston game? So let's just look at that as a rough start, where we actually showed some signs of the positive course we are now charting. Bottom line is, our team stuck together and clearly there is a real sense of locker room “buy in” to what Philbin is selling them. Encouraging from the start.
So let's pick up some quotes from after the great Oakland win, where we got to witness some fun with a top shelf ground attack. Mike Sherman does a nice job of giving Reggie Bush credit for his quick instincts on the 23 yard run for a TD vs. Oakland. “If he did it exactly the way I wanted him to do it, it would have been a two yard gain probably,” It is worth noting that Sherman said this while laughing. I laughed when I read it, although after that nice offensive performance I was laughing at a lot of things. It is amazing what scoring some points will do for the mood.
However, some people were not in a good mood, even while at the stadium to enjoy a thorough and long overdue whooping by the Dolphins at home. While Ireland was greeting some spectators in the stadium during the game, one disgruntled fan told Jeff Ireland how poor of a job he feels Ireland has done. “The sum and substance of what I suggested is that he should fire himself,” Sean later said on a radio show. This story gained notoriety because Ireland apparently muttered and expletive under his breath as he walked away from Sean and his insult. Of course the knee jerk reaction here is to pile on Ireland, as is tradition when he says something newsworthy. But I think that if Sean wants Ireland to fire himself so badly, maybe Sean should do something to himself that also begins with the letter f.
Ah yes, the Oakland Game. That was a fun day. However, we lost to the Jets in overtime the next week and fun was not in the vocabulary of Dolphins fans, especially after Carpenter missed 2 field goals that we have grown accustomed to watching him make to win games for us. He also looked shaky on shorter kicks early this year so hopefully he will iron it out soon. JROB FIN FAN probably voiced his concern the loudest when he said “They should strip Carpenter naked and throw his inaccurate butt out of Florida!!!” Ouch. I am growing weary of the kicking struggles, but I think we would have trouble replacing Carpenter with another kicker as good as he is. I also think we would have trouble finding another kicker to come take Carpenter's place when word gets out about all the stripping inaccurate kickers naked. High stakes, indeed.
Dice nailed one of our continuing concerns on an otherwise dominant defensive effort against Arizona. We destroyed the Cards' offensive line for much of the second half and shut down to run early to allow our pass rush to do so.
Dice said, “On defense, when you have that many sacks and QB pressures and still give up well over 300 yards passing again, the team obviously can't cover. Major issues in the secondary.” I think we will see another corner picked early next year to pair with Sean Smith, who, by the way, played a great game in Arizona. Does he have the interception monkey off of his back now? Look for Smith, who used to play on offense, to start racking them up.
Keith, who cannot be accused of being negative, and is often accused of being positive, was equally unimpressed with Naanee, who has been, well...unimpressive. While talking about a call that could have gone either way on the Naanee fumble, Keith said, “Even though Nannee stinks and we should cut him, that was not a fumble!”. I think Keith is right on both counts. Congratulations Keith, you got your wish! Goodbye Naanee and hello Gaffney!
Ray (my 2 cents) is a former QB who watches a lot of film and often sees things beyond stats and big plays that many of us might miss. He looks for technique and execution from specific players as opposed to end results, especially right now during the rebuild. So when I hear something positive from Ray about our young QB, team, and coaching staff, I listen. After the Arizona game he said, “That was the most encouraging best game I have seen in a long time from this team....great offensive scheme, great defensive effort, good game from Tannehill with some real encouraging growth...”
After the Jets game, I was starting to worry as Ray said he did not see the improvement he had hoped for by then. But in the Arizona game, many of us noticed a difference in Tannehill and his pre snap awareness and accuracy. Also, we enjoyed some big results to the tune of 431 passing yards, which is cool too! By the way, Tannehill was one yard short of tying Cam Newton's performance last year, which is the current rookie record. He also finished top 8 in Dolphins history, which is generally a territory owned by Marino. However, the big thing is that we saw growth in Tanny's game, as well as many players on the team that day. Which brings us back to the Oakland game. I cannot say that I believe Philbin is the greatest “Hip hip Hooray!” type of speaker. He motivates his players with his own dedication and knowledge of what he is doing. Knowing he is taking the team in the right direction motivates many professionals. He also seems to be the type who can take players aside and tell them very simply what he expects and lets his actions speak louder than his words. Players know from earlier this year that if they are not going to do their job, they will be gone. That said, Philbin addressing the team after the Oakland game gave me chills. When you listen to him telling the players they played as a team, it is not the sort of thing that will make it on an NFL films special. He goes on to say they will be a lot of trouble for teams to play against this year and that has been true since week 2, when he said it. But that is not what gave me chills.
If you listen to the end, almost as an afterthought Philbin, dismissing the guys, slipped in a very low key and powerful quote:
“We've got something special going on here.”