22 September 2010
"Your stupid fireman."
Similar to last week, I conducted a Q & A with Bloguin's Dolphins blogger, Cody Strahm, of Phins Phocus. (To read my answers to his interview, click here.)
The fella seems to know his stuff (as indicated by his awesome blog), so you'll enjoy the read. He also makes it clear that he hates the Jets. No, really, he hates the Jets.
Can you blame him?
Q: Fans who didn't see the Dolphins victories would say, "The Bills stink. You barely beat them. And Brett Favre won the game for you last week." Is this accurate? Did the Bills and Vikings lose those games or did the Dolphins win them?
A: No, Buffalo isn't any good, but it's always a tough place to go play, especially when you are one of their division rivals. If you remember back to last year, both the Dolphins and Jets lost a game to the Bills despite being the better team. It seems like the Dolphins play down to the level of their opponents, though, and it's obvious they get super conservative when they have the lead. As far as the Vikings game, you can say Favre gave that game away all you want, but Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown each fumbled the ball in the second-half. Ricky's fumble came on the Dolphins' one-yard line, and it resulted in the Vikings' only touchdown. They weren't just handed that victory, they also made mistakes that should have led to a loss if the Vikings were clearly the superior team. Besides, it was Cameron Wake who brought the pressure that led to the fumble recovery touchdown, and it was Jason Allen and Vontae Davis who made great plays on the ball for two of Favre's three interceptions.
Q: How have your aspirations for the 2010 Dolphins changed over the past two weeks?
A: Clearly, I have good reason to believe the Dolphins are a completely different team on the defensive side of the ball than they were a year ago. Sure, it came against a Trent Edwards led Bills' offense, and a Sidney Rice-less Vikings' receiving corps, but Mike Nolan has something cooking here. Based on his past, I knew the Dolphins would improve on the defensive side of the ball. I just didn't think they would be this good, this soon. Especially, with all the uncertainties they came into the season with. Where was the pass rush going to come from? Can Randy Starks play nose tackle? Is Chris Clemons a starting caliber free safety? Will the secondary improve any? Through two games, it appears the questions have been answered. It's still early of course; things can take a turn for the worse any week. If I had to guess right now, though, I would say this defense is going to keep the Dolphins in most games.
On the offensive side of the ball, it's been a couple of lackluster performances. On the bright side, the running game is clearly still one of the league's best, and if they can get it going against the Vikings, I believe they can run on any team in this league. But they can't run every play. This offense will only go as far as Chad Henne can take them. If the first two weeks of the season are a sign of things to come both offensively and defensively, I think the Dolphins are playing about 9-7 ball right now, simply because their defense and running game will be good enough to compete with anybody. If they can get the passing game going, though, and live up to its potential with Brandon Marshall in the equation, they would be good enough to win this division and could end up with 10 or 11 wins.
Q: Do you trust Chad Henne? Be honest.
A: That's a pretty broad question. To an extent, I would say yes. But if you're asking me if I would trust him throwing the ball 30-40 times a game, or to be the next Dan Marino, absolutely not. But if you're asking me if I trust him to become a solid NFL starter for years to come, I still believe he will. I would also trust him leading a last-minute drive. You guys saw what he could do first hand last year on Monday Night Football against the best pass defense in the league. The potential is there. He's got the arm strength to make every throw in football. He still struggles with locking onto his targets at times, and typically doesn't put enough touch on short throws, though. But he now has all the weapons to be successful---the top tier ground attack and offensive line, and now the alpha receiver. I would say, the Dolphins just need to trust him a little bit more. I mean, 14 pass attempts against a suspect Vikings' secondary, and a franchise low five attempts in the first-half? I guess that's just Dan Henning's style to go in a shell when you possess an early lead, but for the Dolphins offense to reach its potential, he is going to have to let Henne off the leash.
Q: Are the Jets the Dolphins most hated team? Which member of the Jets irks you South Florida folk the most?
A: Without question, the Jets are the Dolphins' most hated rival. I found myself cheering for Tom Brady and the Patriots last week for the first time in my life, after all. We hate everything about you. Your cocky coach, your cocky players, your stupid chant, your stupid fireman, how ESPN can't get enough of you, how Calvin Pace trashed a wildcat you couldn't stop, how Rex Ryan called the formation a gimmick, and then decided to run it himself, how Rex disrespected Henne by saying "we made him look like Dan Marnio," I could go on and on, we hate it all. Dolphin fans have always hated the Jets; they're the one team in the division that always seemed to have Miami's number. But that hate may be at an all-time high. That's what makes sports so much fun, though. As much as I hate the Jets, I don't know what I would do without you guys. It's the two most exciting, meaningful games of the year. The NFL just wouldn't be the same without us.
As far as who we hate the most, without Rex Ryan being a possible option, I'm not sure if there is a unanimous choice. I'm sure many hate Mark Sanchez, just because he comes off as a pretty boy, and is, despite a pretty darn good showing last week, overhyped and overrated by ESPN. Personally, I can't stand Calvin Pace. I know he's out of the game Sunday, but some of the comments he made after losing to the Dolphins last year made him look like a complete tool.
Q: If Jason Taylor plays Sunday night, will there be cheers or boos (only because he's in a Jets uniform)? What would you do?
A: If Jason would have gone to any other team in the league outside of the division, he would have surely received a warm reception playing in Miami. He had a Hall of Fame career here, after all, and was the face of the franchise for years. But signing with the Jets, really? I know the Dolphins didn't want him, and the Jets were supposedly the only team that did, but how can you go against everything you ever stood for and sign with them? I don't think anything he ever said was genuine, it was all a show. At the end of the day, he chose another paycheck over staying loyal to where his heart supposedly was. But I don't think there will be a dominating sound of boo's. He did too much for this team for that to be the reception. He certainly won't be cheered, though. I'm in the same boat for the reasons I just named. I wouldn't cheer or boo. Frankly, I don't really care anymore. The Dolphins have two young and promising outside linebackers: Cameron Wake and Koa Misi. They made the right decision to cut ties with Jason Taylor and Joey Porter.
Q: How do you see the game playing out? What will be the determining factor? Sanchez and Henne or something else?
A: I see this game being a slugfest from start to finish. Don't expect the kind of scoring we saw last year. Both teams will make an effort to run the ball, and I don't really see either one being overly successful at it. I think it will come down to who can make more plays between Sanchez and Henne. In the end, though, I see the home-field advantage winning out, and the Dolphins squeaking by in another classic.
Final score: Dolphins 17 Jets 13
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