Coming off of the Dolphins win in Green Bay, there are a number of interesting topics being discussed in the media that I wanted to touch on. So I give you a little smorgasbord of Dolphins talk.
The value of Crowder
If you've been a reader for a few years, then you know that I've been kind of hard on Dolphins LB Channing Crowder the past couple of years. Of course, I wasn't the only one. As the team's top inside linebacker in 2008 and 2009, I expected a lot in terms of production. I didn't just want tackles - I wanted him making game-changing plays. As you all know, that's the biggest knock on Channing - he just isn't a play-maker. In his first five seasons in this league, Crowder has only tallied 14 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and 1 interception.
With that said, the numbers have never lied. When Crowder is in the line-up, the Dolphins allow fewer rushing yards. Could it be a coincidence? Maybe. But here's a fact. In 2008 and 2009, the Dolphins allowed just 108 yards on the ground and 4.2 yards per carry. But in the four games that Crowder missed in '08 and '09, the Dolphins surrendered 154 yards rushing per game and 5.1 yards per carry.
This season, the Dolphins allowed 117 yards per game on the ground in the four games Crowder missed. On Sunday, though, the Dolphins held the Packers to just 76 yards rushing. Now it's true the Packers aren't exactly a running team. In fact, their running attack stinks. But it's still a noteworthy trend that we should keep an eye on now that Crowder is back on the field.
But it was these two tweets by the Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly that really got my attention. Said Kelly:
Here's the truth. I had NO IDEA Channing Crowder was as important to this team from a mental standpoint as he is.
All the Dolphins talked about for a week was how excited they are to get Channing Crowder back. Then after game he's all the D talked about.
This article from the Palm Beach Post also has some interesting quotes from Crowder's teammates, stating how important he is to this team - both in terms of production as well as leadership. And with Crowder not having to be the "play-maker" thanks to the presence of Karlos Dansby, I think we're now going to see Crowder thrive in his new role with the team.
In the words of Yeremiah Bell, "It feels like we're complete now."
Henne haters need to relax
Yes, Chad Henne was inaccurate on a couple of throws on Sunday. Yes, he threw another drive-killing interception. But he also threw two touchdowns (and nearly a third if Brandon Marshall gets that second foot down) en route to a win in a hostile environment at Lambeau Field. That's pretty impressive for a guy making only his 18th career start.
Speaking of his first 18 career starts, Henne is 10-8. How impressive is that? Yesterday, Omar Kelly said on Twitter, "Dolphins QB Chad Henne is 10-8 as an NFL starter. Before you bash him look up the record of the good ones in their first 32 starts."
Let's take him up on that.
Brett Favre? 10-8. John Elway? 12-6. Troy Aikman? 3-15. Drew Brees? 8-10. Peyton Manning? 4-14.
What about some of the recent quarterbacks Henne will be linked to? Mark Sanchez went 10-8 in his first 18 regular season starts. Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan both went 13-5.
And just for fun, let's look at the stats of these four young signal callers in 2010:
Mark Sanchez: 55.4% completion percentage, 6.2 YPA, 183 YPG, 9 TDs, 2 Ints, 86.4 rating
Chad Henne: 62.9% completion percentage, 7 YPA, 239 YPG, 7 TDs, 5 Ints, 85.3 rating
Matt Ryan: 60.3% completion percentage, 6.5 YPA, 235.8 YPG, 9 TDs, 4 Ints, 85.3 rating
Joe Flacco: 60.5% completion percentage, 6.8 YPA, 233 YPG, 7 TDs, 6 Ints, 80.2 rating
Now those are just numbers. But the bottom line is that there's no reason to think Henne isn't the long-term franchise quarterback this team needs.
Parcells clears out office
In what's going to become a big story - though it has no right being one - Bill Parcells has reportedly cleaned out his office at the Dolphins facility in Davie, Florida, according to ESPN. If true - and I assume it is considering it comes from Adam Schefter - this all but officially ends his reign in Miami.
The writing has been on the wall for some time now, particularly since it was announced prior to the start of the regular season that he was taking a lesser role with the team and giving full control to GM Jeff Ireland. A Dolphins source tells the Palm Beach Post's Brian Biggane that Parcells is going "to serve Dolphins as a consultant but is doing so in a different manner."
All this does is confirm who is really running the team now. As for Parcells, he did what he always does. He took over a bad team, changed the culture, improved the talent level on the roster, and has moved on. He made a bad team become an above average team. Are the Dolphins a title contender thanks to Parcells? Not yet. But the foundation is in place. His legacy in Miami, though, will be tied to two players: Jake Long and Chad Henne. By all accounts, taking Long number one overall was the right call - assuming the Dolphins have their franchise quarterback. If Henne never takes that step, though, and Matt Ryan does, Bill's tenure in Miami might not be remembered in a positive light.
Dolphins are road warriors
Interesting stat highlighted in this article by Greg Stoda. Under Tony Sparano, the Dolphins are 12-7 on the road and just 9-10 at home. The argument made in the article by Stoda is that the team's "camaraderie" is a big factor for why the Dolphins have been relatively effective on the road. Do you buy that?
I think this is nothing more than a statistical anomaly and nothing more. But if the Dolphins want to achieve big things this year, they better prove to be as good on the road as this article would lead you to believe - with road games at Baltimore, New York, and New England still to come.