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Various Dolphin Nuggets

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Still basking in the afterglow of winning the AFC East?  Yeah, me too.  But there's more work to be done - and surly Tony & company will have his boys ready to compete.

Below are just some more things to talk about as we wrap up the regular season and begin to look towards the post-season.

Need another reason to love Chad Pennington?  Probably not.  But I'm going to give you one more.  The dude is insanely classy.  On a day where he could have finally spoken his mind, pounded his chest, and talked about how much he enjoyed knocking off his former team in a game that clinched the division for Miami in front of fans who cheered him when he got hurt last year, Chad simply decided to say, "It's not a revenge factor.  It's really not."

Luckily, some of his more "outspoken" teammates love Chad enough to do his talking for him.  Said Joey Porter:

"I told you, man. He was our savior. They talk about everybody else being the MVP and just overlooking him. They overlooked him in the Pro Bowl, too. But if you look at what this guy did, he changed this whole team. Look at today. He totally outplayed Brett Favre. He did it all year."

"He's not the one that's going to brag about it. That's not him. But I'm going to brag for him because he's not going to say nothing. He's just an old, humble country boy, so I'm going to brag for him."

Channing Crowder added:

"Chad beat the hell out of the Jets - the team that let him go and brought in someone else. He would never say it, but that's how he feels."

"He was coming out yelling at the defense the entire game. He wanted to beat these guys. It was a division game. It was for the playoffs. And it was a team that released him to bring in somebody else...And now Chad came back and beat the hell out of them and all of the people who were booing him at home. Chad's not going to say it, but he can tell them to kiss his ass."

It says a lot about a person when people he's only been around for 4+ months defend you the way Porter and Crowder are defending Chad.  There's no doubt about it - Pennington was a Godsend.  He's the leader of not only the offense, but of the team.  He just goes about it differently than other typical leaders do.  For Chad, though, it works.

Perhaps the soft-spoken Ted Ginn said it best.  "Chad made our season," said Ginn.  "He's a blessing."

This team has been disrespected all season.  And even though the Dolphins have won their division, the disrespect continues.

Jim Mora, on NFL Total Access on Monday night, said that the #1 reason for the Dolphins' success this season has been their easy schedule.

But I got news for Mr. Mora, and anyone else who wants to say Miami's schedule is the reason they won the division.  They only play 2 different opponents than the 3 other teams in  their division play.  And the Dolphins lost both of those.

Look at it this way.  The Dolphins won the games that they should have won.  The 2 other AFC East contenders did not.  The Dolphins beat the Seahawks, 49ers, Broncos, Chargers, and Raiders.  The Jets, however, lost to all 5 of those teams.

The Patriots, on the other hand, did just as well as the Dolphins against those "under .500" teams.  But if any of the Patriots want to know how they could win 11 games and not make the playoffs, here's what they need to know.  The Dolphins and Patriots played 2 games against uncommon opponents.  Both teams were 0-2 in those games.  Inside the AFC East, both teams were 4-2.  So where's the difference in those 8 other games?  The Chargers.  The Dolphins knocked off San Diego.  The Patriots lost by 20.

So was Miami's schedule the reason for their quick turnaround?  It helped, for sure.  But it isn't their fault that the AFC East was slotted to play the AFC West and NFC West this season.  The bottom line, though, is that the Dolphins won the games they had to.  Their division rivals did not.

Hence the Miami Dolphins as 2008 AFC East Champions.

We're going to look at this game in the coming days, but here's just a quick nugget to digest.  When the Ravens knocked off the Dolphins earlier this year, the Fins were without their top 2 nose tackles for most of the game.  Jason Ferguson left the game in the 1st quarter with an injury and did not return.  Paul Soliai, the team's #2 NT, was suspended for the game and didn't dress.  So the Fins had to play Randy Starks at nose tackle - a player who had never previously played the nose.

Maybe that's a major reason why the Ravens ran for 139 yards in that game.

That's all for now.  Thoughts?