It’s been like 3 weeks since the Dolphin Front Office has done anything ridiculous. Certainly a step in the right direction. Especially when you consider the agents for Terrell Owens, JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf must be calling every day. Not to mention, after seeing the moves they’ve made this off-season all the casinos in Las Vegas must be offering to send Lear Jets and comp these guys rooms.
Well, almost… They did release their practice schedule. The Fins will start early – 8 a.m. This way they can avoid the heat of the day. I mean, no sense letting your players acclimate to the conditions they will be playing in. After all, it’s only your primary home field advantage.
Long time ago the Dolphins used to do two-a-days, one early in the morning, one late in the afternoon, to avoid the heat. Then they hired a new coach, who changed that, made the team practice in the heat and humidity of mid-day. Low and behold, opposing teams flew into Miami from the balmy Northeast and Midwest in September and October, and by the 4th Quarter they were dead on their feet and the Fins ran all over them, were virtually unbeatable at home until late November.
That coach’s name was Don Shula. He enjoyed some small success.
Never ceases to amaze me how the current Dolphins can just totally ignore their own legacy. The team was in terrible shape last season, conditioning-wise. The (Cow) Patties came in week one and they were much more better conditioned than Miami. Tom Brady threw for 517 yards. By the 4th Quarter it was the Dolphin players who were dragging ass. All last Season, in fact, teams flew into Miami and they were in better shape than the Fins. The heat, the humidity – that’s Miami’s home field advantage. But only if you have brains enough to realize it, capitalize on it.
And this is not the only Don Shula legacy the Fins have forgotten. Before Shula the old NFL adage said Third Down was the most important Down. But Shula changed that. He said: no, First Down is the most important, because what you do on First Down determines what you must do on Second and Third. The last few Dolphin regimes have been clueless on this account as well. Under Wannstadt II the Fins wasted more First Downs. But, of course, that didn’t determine what they did on Second and Third Down, because they were clueless there, too. (Just wait, Jets fans. You shall see. You’ll get to Week 6 and you’ll be saying: "Hey! Isn’t this the exact same Game Plan we used last week? And the week before that? And the week before that?" Trust me, it doesn’t matter if you’re playing Pittsburgh, New England or Indianapolis – Wannstadt II’s showing up with the same Game Plan every week.)
Turns out WR Brian Hartline was sitting out OTAs because he was recovering from appendicitis. Prognosis is he should be good to go by Training Camp. I realize this is probably shaping your whole draft strategy. Still, a good route runner with great hands, Hartline could excel in Miami’s new West Coast approach to Offense. He could be a decent WR3 in PPR Leagues.
Not much else to talk about. Saw some reports David Garrard was looking better than Matt Moore in OTAs but I’d be shocked if Moore wasn’t starting come Week One. When Garrard got released by the Jags prior to last Season there was talk about Miami being interested in signing him and Garrard made some disparaging remarks about the Dolphin organization. Then, of course, his phone wasn’t ringing, and in spite of said disparaging remarks the Fins Front Office called him this off-Season when they couldn’t sign anybody good. So both parties in this deal look classless, and with all that bad juju I just can’t see this guy starting.
Of course, whoever starts at Quarterback will have the same problem – gravity – i.e. what goes up must come down. Brian Hartline’s an excellent possession receiver and Davone Bess is great in the slot, but after that all the other receivers on the Miami roster have major question marks. Certainly none of them are going to draw double coverage, which means opposing defenses will be able to man up on Fins receivers and crowd the line to stuff the run. The only people who haven’t seemed to figure this out are in the Dolphins Front Office. Unless the Miami Coaches can somehow Game Plan around this (wow, I remember when we used to have Game Plans) then their disregard for the Wide Receiver position could cripple the entire Offense.