As we always do, let's see what the south Florida media is saying about the best winless football team in the NFL.
HOLD NOT A HOLD
There's an interesting section in Dave Hyde's latest article about the holding call that negated Ted Ginn's would be game-changing return touchdown. I guess Greg Camarillo and Buffalo's Justin Jenkins (who was the "victim" of the hold) both didn't think it was a penalty:
"I don't know if he held me," Buffalo's Justin Jenkins said. "He kind of hip-tossed me. His feet were set and he was in good position and he did this ..."
Here, he fake-grabbed my shirt in two hands and fake-tossed me over his hip to the ground.
"So it wasn't holding," he said. "But there's no hip-toss penalty. So I guess they said holding."
That's basically the way this season has gone. Even the opposition is pitying the Dolphins. But hey, nothing like having the refs kick us while we're down. I figured Camarillo would deny the holding, but even Jenkins claimed it wasn't a hold. And add to that the fact that Ginn was already past them when the penalty occured. The refs really could have let that go. But hey, we can't blame the refs. At 0-9, all the blame must fall on this team and this organization. But man, it would have been great for Teddy to get his first return TD. I guess we'll continue to wait for that.
The Herald's Armando Salguero points to three reasons why the Dolphins continue to lose games and remain winless:
The three categories have taken turns dooming the team throughout this season, and it was the case again Sunday.
Not talented enough?
As the Bills were driving for their winning field goal, the Dolphins were so short of healthy, good players that linebacker Donnie Spragan was playing out of position at defensive end, and Holliday moved from defensive tackle to end. Someone named Steve Fifita was in at defensive tackle with second-year player Rodrique Wright.
All this while Jason Taylor, left ankle wrapped, and Matt Roth, groin strained, watched helplessly from the sideline.
The Miami staff can be proud of the offensive plan, which was basically to run Chatman, use the offensive line's run-blocking prowess, and limit the damage that quarterback Cleo Lemon could do with turnovers.
The defensive plan was perhaps the most aggressive of the year, as the Dolphins blitzed on practically every significant passing down -- sometimes coming with linebackers, corners, sometimes using a linebacker and corner, once even bringing two corners.
But in the end, it was Cameron who looked at a third-and-7 situation from his own 5-yard line and decided to pass instead of run. Lemon double-pumped the football and then was sacked for a safety.
That's a fair assessment. I never really thought about the play call when Cleo was sacked for the safety. I was too busy trying to figure out what the Dolphins planned on doing about Lemon being cemented to the grass and unable to run. Wait, he wasn't cemented to the ground? Then why the hell didn't he simply avoid Chris Kelsay in the endzone by...um...MOVING? AHHHHH!!!
Anyways, Armando brings up a good point. Perhaps the Dolphins should have simply ran the ball and punted it. Would it have changed the outcome? No one knows for sure. But I suppose getting on Cameron for calling a pass play when he doesn't have a very experienced player at QB was probably not the smartest thing to do. Even with all that said, however, I still blame Lemon because he DIDN'T FRIGGIN' MOVE AT ALL!!
IN NEED OF IMPACT PLAYERS
Omar Kelly believes the problem with the Dolphins is that they simply lack "impact" players; players who can change the game instantly. Here's what he writes:
I tried to stay positive in the fourth quarter, but after the offense failed to drive 20 additional yards - getting into field goal position to regain the lead with less than five minutes left in regulation - I lost all confidence.
The game was in the offenses hands - in the head coaches headset since he calls the plays - but Cam Cameron's crew didn't rise to the occasion. He didn't call the appropriate plays to make the magic happen, which was a major letdown.
What happened next? Roscoe Parrish's 40-yard punt return, another huge letdown. An impact player made an impact play when his team needed it most.
That return right there left me wondering where are Miami's impact players? Who on both sides of the ball are capable of stepping up and making a big play when one is needed?
First of all, Kelly makes a good point about the offense. Even after the Bills came back to tie it by effortlessly driving down the field, and even after Ginn's return TD was negated by penalty, the Dolphins had the ball at midfield with less than 5 minutes left. 15 to 20 more yards would have set up Jay Feely, who's been very good, for the go ahead field goal. But this offense, which I have been claiming is much improved, came back to bite me in the ass, as they were unable to make anything happen in crunch time. So yes, you can get on Cam and the offense for that. The game was there for the taking and they failed.
As for impact players, Kelly goes on to say he sees only 2 on the roster: Jesse Chatman and Jason Taylor. I guess he's forgetting about Zach Thomas becuase of the injury issues. But I think he's missing the big picture. For the 2008 season, which is what matters at this point, the Dolphins do have some impact players. Ronnie Brown will hopefully be back and, if healthy, will be among the top 5 backs in the league. Also, I've seen enough out of Ted Ginn to know that he will be an impact player. The guy doesn't drop passes and gets open relatively often, including getting open deep. Once we get a QB in here who can make all the throws (cough - Beck - cough), we'll really see what Teddy is all about. But I, for one, think he's going to be quite the player.
Defensively, though, is the problem. They have no impact players outside of Taylor (and Thomas when healthy) and both are not close to being locks to be back in 2008. So where are the other impact players coming from? The draft? Free agency? I don't know. But this defense seriously needs an overhaul. So my question to you all is what would you do in terms of rebuilding this defense?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
The quote of the week comes courtesy of Vonnie Holliday: