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Miami at a Glance

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  • Miami at a Glance

    Miami at a Glance
    Friday, October 22, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    After a tumultuous offseason in which its best player suddenly retired, Miami has clearly been reeling from the effects.

    The Dolphins are off to a 0-6 start, worst in the league and appear poised to live the dream of the undefeated 1972 team in reverse, only this would be much more of a nightmare than a dream.

    Miami has struggled to create any kind of offensive cohesiveness in spite of solid defensive performances. It seems there is a new player starting at running back every week and the quarterback tandem in place has struggled to make any big plays.

    The offseason gave many fans in Miami hope that there could be improvements, but then running back Ricky Williams retired to go on tour with Lenny Kravitz and offseason acquisition David Boston went out for the season with an injury. The defense continues to be a mainstay, but without much offensive production, the Dolphins will continue to struggle and coach Dave Wannstedt’s seat will only get hotter.

    COACHING: Wannstedt is in his fifth season as Miami’s coach, making him the second-longest tenured coach in Dolphins’ history behind the legendary Don Shula. He is 3-3 in his career against the Rams and 0-1 against St. Louis with the Dolphins.

    Wannstedt’s teams have always played hard, but without the talent in place, it has been hard for Miami to generate any kind of momentum. Wannstedt could be in his final season with the Dolphins, barring a dramatic turnaround that would probably involve Miami somehow winning out. Wannstedt isn’t really to blame for the awful start this season, after all, it wasn’t his fault that Williams bailed on his teammates, Boston got hurt and the team made some poor decisions in the trade and free agency market.

    OFFENSE: This is clearly Miami’s biggest problem area. It isn’t just struggling to run the ball in Williams’ place or throw it without Boston, but the offense in general. The Dolphins are putting up just 243 yards per game and has scored just four touchdowns.

    Jay Fiedler starts at quarterback, but has fought off A.J. Feeley most of the season. Fiedler has an anemic passer rating of 51.1 with two touchdowns and six interceptions. Feeley wasn’t much better with a 57.2 rating, two touchdowns and five interceptions. That combination simply isn’t getting the job done and it will be difficult to improve with a depleted receiving corps and inexperienced offensive line.

    The running game has been the only area of the offense worse than the pass. The Dolphins have put up only 69.5 yards per game on the ground using a rotating door at running back. So far this season, former Ram Lamar Gordon, Travis Minor, Brock Forsey, Leonard Henry and Sammy Morris have gotten the bulk of the carries at various times. Henry leads the team in rushing with 136 yards, but he has averaged just 3.6 yards per carry. Miami has yet to score a touchdown on the ground.

    At receiver, there are some capable playmakers, but none of them matter much without a quarterback to get them the ball. Marty Booker, who was acquired in a trade with the Bears, is a solid possession receiver who is also capable of the big play. Chris Chambers has been one of the AFC’s better targets in recent years, but has only had 22 catches for 179 yards this season. Perhaps the best target for Miami is its biggest. Tight end Randy McMichael leads the Dolphins with 31 catches and 370 yards to go with a touchdown. His size and speed have made McMichael one of the league’s best receiving threats at tight end.

    The offensive line has seen its share of new names and that has contributed to many of the offensive problems. Rookie Vernon Carey starts at right tackle and is joined on that side by guard Taylor Whitley. In the middle is center Seth McKinney and the left side is manned by tackle Damion McIntosh and guard Jeno James. This group has allowed 20 sacks, a number that could expand with pass rusher supreme Leonard Little leading the Rams’ pass rush.

    DEFENSE: This unit has kept games close for the Dolphins all season. Allowing no more than 24 points in a game all season, the defense has single-handedly given Miami the opportunity to win some games late. It has to be difficult for any defense to continue to play at a high level when the offense struggles so much, but there has been no apparent letdown for this unit.

    The Dolphins defense is led by one of the league’s best secondaries. Miami has the best pass defense in the league, allowing 122.7 yards per game through the air and snaring four interceptions in the process. Cornerbacks Patrick Surtain and Sam Madison form one of the league’s best cornerback tandems, anchoring not just the secondary, but also the defense as a whole. At safety, Miami deploys Antuan Edwards and Sammy Knight. Knight has had some big games against the Rams, dating to his time with the Saints. Surtain has a pair of interceptions this season to lead the team.

    The Dolphins have a solid linebacker corps to match the strong secondary. Middle linebacker Zach Thomas is one of the game’s fiercest and hardest working players, consistently finishing near the top of the tackles list. Junior Seau is a likely future Hall of Famer and Morlon Greenwood is a solid complement on the other side.

    Up front, Miami boasts one of the game’s best defensive lines. Right end Jason Taylor is one of the league’s best at his position, ranking second in the past four years with 54.5 sacks. His counterpart on the left side is David Bowens. In the middle, the Dolphins employ a trio of strong run stuffers in Tim Bowens, Bryan Robinson and former Ram Jeff Zgonina. All told, the defense is allowing 257.8 yards per game. If it wasn’t for the fact that the offense is putting up about 14 yards less per game, Miami’s record might be much better.

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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  • Milan
    A Look at the Opponent - Miami
    by Milan
    By Duane Lewis

    The Miami Dolphins enter the 2006 season as one of the hottest teams in football, and potentially primed to battle for the division title in the AFC East.

    The Dolphins ended 2005 on a six-game winning streak and posted a 9-7 record under first-year coach Nick Saban. While they have lost several key pieces from that squad, including Rams' head coach Scott Linehan (former offensive coordinator), QB Gus Frerotte (who started for the Dolphins last year) and CB Sam Madison, the Dolphins have reloaded and retooled their lineup.

    Perhaps the primary reason for the optimism surrounding the Dolphins was keyed by the acquisition of QB Daunte Culpepper via trade from the Minnesota Vikings. The three-time Pro Bowl signal-caller is coming off a major knee injury in 2005, but has looked sharp in the 2006 preseason and appears ready to start the Dolphins' opener at Pittsburgh next Thursday night.

    At running back, Ronnie Brown, Miami's first-round draft pick out of Auburn from last season, is the unquestioned lead back after the suspension of RB Ricky Williams. Despite sharing time with Williams, Brown rushed for 907 yards and four touchdowns last season. The Dolphins' rushing attack should also be bolstered by another former Auburn player, bruising fullback Fred Beasley, signed as an unrestricted free agent from San Francisco.

    On the outside, WR Chris Chambers earned his first Pro Bowl invitation in 2005 after posting career highs in receptions (82) receiving yards (1,118) and tying a career-high in touchdowns (11). On the other side, veteran Marty Booker averaged 17.6 yards per catch last season. TE Randy McMichael is the Dolphins' all-time leader for in receiving yards by a tight end and caught 60 passes for 582 yards and five touchdowns last season.

    Manning the offensive line are three players who made a combined 46 starts up front. LG Jeno James and C Rex Hadnot started all 16 games on the Dolphins' offensive line, key cogs in a unit that yielded only 26 sacks in 2005, the fourth-lowest total in the league. RT Vernon Carey started 14 games anchoring the outside of the line.

    L.J. Shelton was acquired in the offseason from the Arizona Cardinals where he started 93 of 98 games at both tackle positions, and is currently the starter at left tackle for the Dolphins. St. Louis native Bennie Anderson, also acquired in the offseason by the Dolphins, is the starter at right tackle.

    The defensive line is arguably the strongest unit of the Dolphins' defense, anchored by four-time Pro Bowl DE Jason Taylor. His 76.0 sacks since 2000 ranks second in the NFL over that time. Commanding the other end spot is former Ram Kevin Carter. He was tied for second on the team in sacks, and has played in 176 consecutive games, fifth-longest active streak in the NFL.

    Inside, nose tackle Keith Traylor and defensive tackle...
    -08-31-2006, 06:58 AM
  • MauiRam
    Could the 2009 Rams Duplicate the 2008 Dolphin's Season?
    by MauiRam
    One can only wonder how bad it is in the Rams locker room these days. One would imaginine that it is devoid of both group and individual self-esteem. Reading about the woes of last year's Dolphins when the team hit rock bottom, made me realize that we will have the same opportunity to improve. Sure Billy D. isn't in the same echelon as Parcells, (few are), but he'll have the chance to prove he belongs there .. We have a chance to tie last year's dismal record this Sunday, but it appears unlikely we'll get a win on the road in Atlanta .. The removal of Shaw and Zygmunt was our Xmas gift from the Chipster .. Let's hope Billy D. can hire the right coach and personnel gurus to lead us to the promised land.

    FOX Sports on MSN - NFL - Dolphins are one win from complete turnaround

    Dolphins are one win from complete turnaround by Alex Marvez.

    Alex Marvez is a Senior NFL Writer for He's covered the NFL for 14 seasons as a beat writer and is the president of the Pro Football Writers of America.

    The Miami Dolphins highlights airing on a locker room television caught Vonnie Holliday's eye.At this time last season, the Dolphins defensive end would have turned away. The only Dolphins footage being shown was future material for a "Football Follies" special. And now? Miami can complete the greatest turnaround in the NFL's 88-year history Sunday by defeating the host New York Jets.

    As Terrell Owens would say, getcha popcorn ready.

    "To be in December and have people talking about the Dolphins in a good way is what I'm most proud of this season," Holliday said Wednesday at team headquarters. "Here we are in the thick of things. Last year, we were the butt of jokes. This year, we're for real. "Really.. By defeating the Jets, Miami (10-5) would win the AFC East. Snow in South Florida seemed more likely entering the season. No one-win team had ever rebounded to post double-digit victories the following year, let alone make the playoffs.

    "I don't think if you would have looked at our roster at the beginning of the season that you would have seen a 10-5 team," Dolphins cornerback Andre' Goodman said. "But the fact is we are a team. We lift each other up. You didn't feel that last year. "Goodman admits he couldn't have fathomed such a reversal of fortune when the 2007 Dolphins were sitting at 1-14 heading into a season-ending home loss against Cincinnati. What a difference......a year makes. The Dolphins have gone from 1-15 to 10-5 and in the playoff race. A look at the statistical turnaround:

    Stat 2007 2008*
    Points scored 267 321
    Points allowed 437 300
    Turnovers 29 12
    TO margin -7 +14
    Pass YPG 207.4 237.4
    Rush YPG 98.1 118.1
    * -- through 15 games

    "You heard at the beginning of the season about what we can be, but...
    -12-27-2008, 01:38 PM
  • RamDez
    Dolphins 31, Rams 14
    by RamDez
    Dolphins 31, Rams 14


    Associated Press

    MIAMI - Jay Fiedler threw a game-clinching touchdown pass, then sprinted the length of the field to join his teammates in an end zone celebration, waving his index finger as he ran.

    No, the Miami Dolphins aren't No. 1. But they do have victory No. 1.

    Winless no more, Miami jump-started its sputtering offense with a succession of big plays and occasional trickery to beat the explosive St. Louis Rams at their own game Sunday, 31-14.

    "You almost forgot what it felt like," Fiedler said. "We were down in the dungeon of the NFL, and we were able to play a full game. This is a big victory for us."

    After enduring the worst start in their 39-year history, the Dolphins (1-6) took out their frustration on the Rams (4-3), who had at least five players hurt. The much-maligned Fiedler threw for two touchdowns, embattled coach Dave Wannstedt made some risky calls that paid off, and Miami held the Rams' high-powered offense in check.

    "Enough is enough," said defensive end David Bowens, who said last week he expected Miami to win its final 10 games. "At some point you've got to draw a line in the sand and be a man about it."

    The Dolphins are the last NFL team to win this season.

    "Every dog has its day, and today was their day," Rams defensive tackle Damione Lewis said. "You never know. They could run off six straight wins now. That's the NFL."

    Fiedler was booed during the pregame introductions, then went 13-for-17 for 203 yards. He shrugged off five sacks and threw touchdown passes of 42 yards to Randy McMichael and 71 yards to Chris Chambers, with the latter clinching the win.

    The conservative Wannstedt, his job in jeopardy, took some uncharacteristic gambles to keep St. Louis guessing. A 48-yard pass by receiver Marty Booker set up the game's first score, and Miami also pulled off a fake punt and tried a halfback pass.

    "We opened up the playbook today," McMichael said. "Coach Wannstedt said he was going to run them all, and they all came out positive."

    Miami, which entered with a league-high 17 turnovers, committed none. A replay review overturned a fumble lost by Chambers in the fourth quarter, and instead the drive produced a field goal for a 24-7 lead.

    "The guys play hard every week," Wannstedt said. "We just didn't make as many mistakes today."

    The Rams' lone turnover was costly, with Marc Bulger intercepted in the end zone when they were threatening to tie the game in the third quarter. St. Louis totaled 372 yards but converted only two of 13 third-down situations.

    The Dolphins dominated on special teams with ferocious hitting, including a block by rookie Tony Bua that took...
    -10-24-2004, 03:40 PM
  • RamWraith
    Rams-Dolphins: 5 Things To Watch
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Strength against strength

    You've got to love this matchup: One of the NFL's top cornerback tandems in Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain of Miami against arguably the NFL's top receiving tandem in Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt of the Rams.

    Bruce and Holt have 17 years of experience and seven Pro Bowls between them; Surtain and Madison have 15 years of NFL experience and six Pro Bowls between them.

    "They're good cover guys," Bruce said. "They stick and stay. And they can run with receivers down the field, which is important in this league. They have really good change of direction. So it's going to be a challenge."

    Especially since Madison and Surtain play press coverage on almost every snap, trying to jam the receiver at the line of scrimmage. "They'll be up in our face," Bruce said.

    Surtain and Madison started at cornerback three years ago for Miami when the teams met in St. Louis. Bruce had a modest three catches for 36 yards. But Holt had four grabs for 111 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown.

    Surtain usually moves inside to cover the slot receiver in the nickel, so he won't be on Holt or Bruce the entire game. Some observers will tell you that Surtain and Madison have both lost a step. We'll see Sunday.

    Miami's QB quandary

    The Dolphins just may be the worst downfield passing team in the league. With starter Jay Fiedler, it's more a lack of accuracy than lack of arm strength. Fiedler has been playing with a cracked rib, and not playing well. He will be on a short leash Sunday, and if he struggles against the Rams, look for A.J. Feeley out of the bullpen. They've basically been splitting time in practice the past couple of weeks.

    Both QBs have been turnover machines. Fiedler has thrown six interceptions and lost three fumbles. Two of those INTs have been returned for touchdowns in the Dolphins' last three games. (Aeneas Williams, that's your cue.) Feeley has committed six turnovers in just 10 quarters of football.

    Fiedler does have some mobility, however, and as Rams DT Ryan Pickett points out: "We've had trouble playing mobile quarterbacks this year. He's not a real runner, but he gets away from a lot of sacks."

    Beware the receivers

    As inept as the Dolphins have been offensively, there are worse wide receiver tandems than Marty Booker and Chris Chambers. The Rams can't go to sleep on these guys, or they'll get burned if Fiedler - or Feeley - can get anything going. Booker had two 1,000-yard seasons as a Chicago Bear. Chambers is more of a speed threat and had 11 TD catches a year ago.

    The Rams have had trouble covering tight ends, and the Dolphins have one the league's best young players at that position in Randy McMichael....
    -10-24-2004, 03:58 AM
  • DJRamFan
    [Dolphins] Not the time for change
    by DJRamFan
    Despite being the last winless team in the NFL, coach Dave Wannstedt doesn't plan to alter the starting lineup.


    [email protected]

    Perhaps you figure the silver lining in the ever-expanding winless cloud over the Dolphins is now you'll see some of the Dolphins young players getting more game time.

    You want to see that, you better have PlayStation or Xbox. The coach of the live action Dolphins isn't planning on doing things that way for now.

    Not only did Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt restate that Jay Fiedler would start at quarterback this Sunday, he digressed into this at the end of answering a question about the defense:

    ''As hard as our players are playing, as hard as our players are working and practicing, my commitment to them, my obligation to this football team, is do whatever we can do to reward that type of effort, to try win this game on Sunday,'' Wannstedt said. When asked bluntly when it's time to give untested players more time, Wannstedt said, ``As long as these guys keep working as hard as we're working, we have to give them the best opportunity to win today.''

    Of course, the guys getting the playing time now are 0-6. Not only is that 5 ½ games back of a potential playoff spot, it's 37 percent of the way toward an offseason in which the Dolphins have to decide on certain players.

    Making such analysis without having an adequate sample size is called ``guessing.''

    There's Quarterback A.J. Feeley, for example, who has played 10 quarters this season. Linebacker Eddie Moore, the 2003 second-round pick, is essentially in his rookie season after missing all of 2003 with an injury. Rookie offensive lineman Vernon Carey has started two games while starting right tackle John St. Clair has been out with a sprained ankle.

    There's also the issue of stalling development of what talent young players do have.

    Feeley shrugged, ``It's [Wannstedt's] decision. That's just the way it is. What it is is what it is.''

    But at this point in your career, how much good does being on the sidelines do?

    ''Anytime you're not playing, you can learn,'' Feeley said.

    Moore is parked on the depth chart behind Morlon Greenwood and Junior Seau. Greenwood will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Seau is a future Hall of Famer who still brings a strong game, but he's 35.

    ''There's no use in trying to change up and make drastic changes right now,'' Moore said. ``The ball just isn't rolling for us right now. Eventually, it will be.

    ''Eventually, my time will come,'' he said.


    Today's NFL trade deadline should bring minimal activity both with the Dolphins and around the NFL.

    Dolphins general manager Rick Spielman said through a team spokesman, ``A trade...
    -10-19-2004, 01:33 PM